At the RE+ conference, the solar industry braces for growth

Last week, SolSmart team members were at RE+, the annual conference on solar energy, battery storage, and related industries. This is a significant moment for the solar industry following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which contains far-reaching incentives to expand solar installations across the United States. Due in part to this new law, the U.S. is expected to have five times the current level of solar deployment by 2032.

Staff from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), one of the groups leading the SolSmart program, spoke with conference attendees about SolSmart’s resources for encouraging the growth of solar energy at the local level. Several SolSmart team members joined conference sessions on ways that local governments can take on key challenges in meeting their sustainability goals.

Brian Ross, Vice President at the Great Plains Institute, spoke to panelists about ecosystem services and renewable energy development. Chris Walker, Senior Director at GRID Alternatives (and a former SolSmart representative), spoke about equitable ways to increase solar deployment in low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities.

Steve Pope, SolarAPP+ Outreach Manager at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), talked with Carla Blackwell, Director of Development Services in Pima County, Arizona. Pima County adopted the SolarAPP+ automated permit software platform to speed up their solar permit approvals. Communities that adopt SolarAPP+ can also receive credit toward SolSmart designation.

With so many new solar panels going up on fields and rooftops in the years ahead, the SolSmart team can work with local governments to make sure their own communities benefit from this growth. Solar energy can help communities reduce pollution, create new jobs, and increase tax revenue, to name just a few of the positive impacts. If your community is interested in learning about SolSmart, contact us today.

Photo at top: Great Plains Institute Vice President Brian Ross speaks on the panel, “With Great Land Use Comes Great Responsibility: Ecosystem Services and Renewable Energy Development.”