Village of Mount Prospect Designated “SolSmart Gold” for Advancing Solar Energy Growth
The Village of Mount Prospect is receiving a Gold designation from the national SolSmart program for making it faster, easier, and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar.
This designation recognizes the Village of Mount Prospect for taking bold steps to encourage solar energy growth and remove obstacles to solar development. For companies looking to expand, a SolSmart Gold designation is a signal that the Village of Mount Prospect is “open for solar business.”
SolSmart is led by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. More than 400 cities, counties, and small towns have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016.
“The Village Code was amended in 2016 to permit solar energy conversion systems. Building and Inspection Services Department has approved over 150 solar permits in the past four years. The SolSmart application process gave staff the opportunity to seek national recognition for the Village’s efforts and to support our community’s sustainability efforts,” said Assistant to the Village Manager Alex Bertolucci.
“We are committed to supporting sustainable building practices and alternative energy systems in the community,” said Director of Building and Inspection Services William Schroeder.
As a SolSmart designee, the Village of Mount Prospect is helping solar companies greatly reduce the cost of installations and pass those savings on to consumers. This allows even more local homes and businesses to obtain affordable, clean, and reliable electricity through solar. The actions the Village of Mount Prospect has taken will help encourage solar companies to do business in the area, driving economic development and creating local jobs.
To receive designation, cities and counties make changes to their local processes to reduce the time and money it takes to install a solar energy system. This includes evaluating local permitting processes, as well as planning and zoning procedures. SolSmart designees also develop innovations in areas such as market development and finance.
Here are some examples of actions taken by the Village of Mount Prospect to achieve a Solsmart designation.
- Staff created webpages to share information on how to get started in considering solar energy and a permitting checklist which reviews local codes, the permitting process and how to schedule an inspection.
- The Village hosted solar information sessions titled “Solar Power Hours” in 2019 and 2020 for community members to “learn about the basics of solar and its financial implications for a household. These sessions also supported the Citizens Utility Board and Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s Solarize Chicagoland community-wide residential solar purchase program.
- In 2021, The Village of Mount Prospect partnered with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus to launch the state’s largest community solar program called the CS2 Residential and Small Commercial Program, providing consumers easy and immediate access to new community solar farms in northern Illinois.
In addition to achieving a SolSmart Gold designation, the Village of Mount Prospect was presented with a Special Recognition Award by SolSmart. The SolSmart Special Recognition Award celebrates and shines a light on communities that have gone above and beyond – earning at least 60% of the total points available in one or more of the eight SolSmart categories of Permitting; Planning, Zoning and Development; Inspection; Construction Codes; Solar Rights; Utility Engagement; Community Engagement; and Marketing, Development and Finance. The Village of Mount Prospect received a Special Recognition Award for excellence in the Community Engagement criteria category. “I am grateful to our team for identifying ways to incentivize the use of solar energy in Mount Prospect,” said Mayor Paul Hoefert. “Sustainable practices and protecting our environment is a top priority for our community.”
SolSmart uses objective criteria to award communities points based on the actions they take to reduce barriers to solar energy development. Communities that take sufficient action are designated either gold, silver, or bronze.
As part of the SolSmart program, a team of national experts provides no-cost technical assistance to help communities achieve a designation. All municipalities, counties, and regional organizations are eligible to join the SolSmart program and receive this technical assistance. Interested communities can learn more at SolSmart.org.