SolSmart Mentor of the Week: Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, Helping 15 Illinois Communities Shine

A SolSmart designation recognizes the hard work a community undertakes to make solar energy accessible to more homes and businesses. In Illinois, the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus (MMC) multiplied this hard work by 15. Today, we highlight this Chicago-based organization and its effort to lead 15 municipalities and counties to Gold, Silver, or Bronze SolSmart designations.

Here are some actions that MMC and the 15 communities took to make it faster, easier, and more affordable to go solar:

  • Evaluated local permitting processes, as well as planning and zoning procedures, to reduce the time and money it takes to install a solar energy system. Specifically, Beach Park adopted a policy to turn around permits for small PV systems in 3 days or fewer.
  • Created online permitting checklists, increasing transparency for community members and solar installers.
  • Cross-trained both inspection and permitting staff on solar PV best practices.

“Before designation, putting solar on your roof seemed like a large and complicated project,” explained Martha Dooley, a landscape and sustainability planner from Schaumburg, Illinois. “Now, residents can contact the local government and receive necessary resources. SolSmart makes it much simpler for them.”

Thanks to MMC and the communities who participated in the cohort, SolSmart has made a large impact in the Chicagoland area. Check out our case study for more details on how MMC helped these 15 Illinois municipalities and counties shine.