Overcoming Solar Roadblocks: There's a Map for That
Optony, through the Southwest Solar Transformation Initiative (SSTI), successfully launched their Solar Roadmap with support from the U.S. Department of Energy's Rooftop Solar Challenge. This customizable, interactive web platform, which shows the real-time status of the solar market in more than 70 participating jurisdictions, makes it easier and more cost-effective for residents to obtain clean, locally produced power with solar energy installations.
SSTI set out to increase solar energy use among businesses and homeowners in Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and the San Joaquin Valley in California. In just one year, this team hit milestone after milestone under the leadership of Optony—a Silicon Valley-based consulting firm that offers planning, implementation, and management services for the solar industry.
SSTI's Solar Roadmap provides clear direction for reaching Department of Energy targets in four key areas: permitting, financing, market development, and zoning and planning. During the Rooftop Solar Challenge, SSTI helped cities and counties throughout the Southwest take the steps needed to implement best practices. Now, the tool is available to any U.S. jurisdiction on the path to solar prosperity.
Because it does more than just show the way, the Solar Roadmap is more like a travel agent, guidebook, and GPS rolled into one website that never asks to be refolded. First, the "My Roadmap" tab helps communities without previous experience in solar to create their own solar roadmap. This customized tool highlights the actions a community needs to take to align with Rooftop Solar Challenge goals.
The SSTI team also compiled a comprehensive and publicly searchable Resource Library featuring more than 280 model documents published by key solar industry players including the Environmental Protection Agency, Interstate Renewable Energy Council, SolarABCs, and Solar Electric Power Association. These documents aim to help communities and utilities increase solar market activity in their region by highlighting the best of the best resources.
In addition, the Solar Roadmap includes a Leaderboard that allows users to quickly scan for and access the roadmaps and profiles of all participating municipalities. By tracking each community's current progress in real time, the Leaderboard serves as a highly visible platform where communities can showcase their efforts and compare their progress with peer cities and counties working to strengthen their economy and environment through clean, locally produced power.
"The Solar Roadmap provided the interface for our community to access all of our goals and track our progress toward achieving these goals," said Steve Bench from the City of Tremonton in Utah. "We were able to access a range of supporting resources, including an online permit process, administrative zoning approval, and a standard building permit fee for both residential and commercial applications."
With fewer administrative barriers and the cost savings that come with it, the road to going solar is now easier to navigate for more than 3 million residents. Signs show the road ahead widening as more communities consult SSTI’s Solar Roadmap.
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