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Grow Solar Communities – Role, Benefits, Process

Solar energy installations are becoming increasingly common in communities across the Midwest. Solar energy systems are being developed on residential and commercial rooftops, in backyards and on institutional campuses, and as power generation facilities in solar farms and gardens. Most communities, however, have not yet addressed the full range of forms that solar development takes in their local regulations or permitting processes, nor have communities planned for how to most appropriately capture the value of their local solar resources. The Grow Solar Partnership is working with communities across Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin to prepare for solar development and to help create a sustainable solar energy market that recognizes local conditions and priorities.

What does it mean to be a Grow Solar city or county in the Grow Solar Partnership Program?

Grow Solar cities and counties will develop and implement a community roadmap, based on national best practices, for encouraging solar development that is appropriate to the conditions and circumstances of the individual community. Grow Solar communities demonstrate the different ways that best practices can be adapted to local conditions, making the Grow Solar community “solar ready” for investment, for the purpose of maximizing the local benefits of solar development. These lessons can then be applied to a broader range of similar communities.

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    What kind of commitment do Grow Solar communities have to make?

    Grow Solar communities make the following commitments: A written commitment from city staff to work with the Midwest Grow Solar Team on your selected targeted areas (planning and policies, permitting, zoning, and/or financing) through 2016, with a goal of implementing or adopting at least one measure before the end of 2017. Agree to let the Grow Solar Partnership share the results of your process through the www.growsolar.org website. Providing access to the appropriate staff who are responsible for the targeted implementation areas and willingness to track staff time spent on solar as in-kind support for the Midwest Grow Solar project. There is no minimum requirement for the amount of staff time, but communities do need to recognize that some staff time will be necessary.