Six communities in Idaho have received SolSmart designation for their efforts to cut red tape and make it easier for local residents and businesses to go solar! They include SolSmart Silver designees Blaine County, Hailey, and Pocatello, and SolSmart Bronze designees Ketchum, McCall, and Meridian. (Update: Ketchum has advanced to Silver designation as of May 2022!)
These communities received in-depth assistance from the team at Warm Springs Consulting LLC, which was selected as a SolSmart Advisor through a competitive process in June 2021. They range from Meridian, the second-largest city in Idaho, to McCall and Ketchum, both with populations under 5,000. Before these communities were designated, Boise, Idaho was the only SolSmart community in the state.
Deb LaSalle, Managing Partner of Warm Springs, said: “These Idaho communities took the task of removing barriers for solar energy development very seriously and really put themselves in the shoes of homeowners, business owners and solar installers to make improvements to their processes. It was great working with their cross-departmental teams and supporting them in meeting their clean energy goals.”
The communities can point to a wide range of accomplishments that will encourage local solar energy growth. These actions include streamlining and simplifying the solar permit process, making information on solar easily accessible to the community, and reviewing zoning requirements that could pose obstacles to solar development.
Blaine County, Hailey, and Ketchum pooled their resources and engaged in a collaborative process to increase solar energy generation locally. As a part of the SolSmart collaboration, the three communities hosted a solar permitting and inspection best practices training along with industry stakeholders.
“Solar energy is one solution the whole community can support. It can provide clean, reliable, and affordable electricity that can power the Wood River Valley’s government facilities, homes, and businesses,” Blaine County notes on its website. “Furthermore, solar energy is now the cheapest form of electricity generation in the United States.”
In Meridian, the SolSmart designation will complement the city’s clean energy resolution supporting Idaho Power’s goal to reach 100% clean energy by 2045. “Working together with our business community to improve our processes makes it easier for our staff and solar installers, which is a win for all involved,” said Mayor Robert Simison. “As partners, we can help the end-user achieve their goals faster while bringing clean energy to Idaho.”
In Pocatello, the city published a zoning determination memo stating solar is by-right accessory use in all major zones. Other activities include LED updates on City Hall, HVAC system upgrades at the Pocatello Regional Airport, and upgraded lighting fixtures at the Public Works Annex, as noted in the Idaho State Journal.
Our congratulations go out to these six communities and Warm Springs Consulting for their accomplishments as solar energy leaders in Idaho! To find out how your community can get involved in SolSmart and receive free technical assistance on solar energy, contact us today.