As cities across the nation look for ways to promote renewable energy, Philadelphia is a shining example of what local governments can do. The city has taken action to expand solar energy use, make solar more accessible to low-income households, and train high school students for jobs in solar. The Solarize Philly group purchase program has allowed thousands of households to receive free home assessments for rooftop solar. SolSmart worked with the city to help expedite the permitting process and share best practices with other communities in the region. These achievements will help the city achieve its long-term sustainability plans, including 100 percent renewable energy for municipal buildings by 2030.
- Created an online permitting checklist, increasing transparency for community members and solar installers
- Reviewed local zoning codes and identified restrictions that intentionally or unintentionally prohibit solar development
- Allowed solar by-right accessory use in all zones (so solar installations don’t require special permits or hearings)
- Cross-trained both inspection and permitting staff on solar
- Provided a streamlined permitting pathway for small PV systems