New Report: Building Local Resilience Through Solar

How can local governments integrate solar energy plans with their goals for community resilience? And how can they locate the financing to achieve these goals? A new SolSmart issue brief, prepared by the Regulatory Assistance Project, sets out to answer these questions.

An increasing number of communities are making resiliency a priority, due to the health and safety impacts of natural disasters, extreme weather, or national security threats. At the same time, many of these communities have not yet integrated their solar energy aspirations with these goals. In addition, resiliency projects can lose momentum when they run up against the challenge of financing.

This issue brief, Solar and Resiliency: Integrative Financing Strategies for SolSmart Communities, first places community energy resilience planning into the context of a stakeholder-driven identification of community goals. Once goals are established and understood, broad community support for specific energy resiliency projects becomes possible. The brief next takes up the process of scoping the energy resiliency project, which begins by defining the energy requirements during a resilience event and continues by examining the energy resources that will be required to meet the requirements.

The third portion of the brief turns to financing the project, featuring three community case studies. Each of the three communities are in different stages of planning and have different potential sources of financing to support their projects. The first is the city of Houston, where sustainability and resiliency planning has set the stage for financing options. The next is Coventry, Connecticut (a SolSmart Gold designee), where state priorities for resilient microgrids have led to a unique financing opportunity and a project that will soon be online. The issue brief concludes with Santa Barbara County, where the combination of fire risk, aggressive local and state sustainability goals, and unique electric system challenges come together in projects that address a wide range of needs and access several financing sources.

Read the issue brief here to learn more about strategies for combining your community’s solar and resilience goals. To learn more about how the SolSmart program can help your community make progress, contact us today.