Webinar recording & slides now available: Planning, Zoning & Permitting for Solar Energy


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Minnesota Solar Challenge

Solar energy is a big deal in Minnesota—and it’s getting so hot that it’s hard to keep up with everything that’s going on!

That’s one of the main reasons why the Minnesota Solar Challenge is providing support for communities across Minnesota that may be interested in capturing the benefit of their local solar energy resource. We don’t want any community to miss out on the economic development that comes along with solar—because solar means business!

Minnesota Solar Challenge partners will work with communities across Minnesota until February 2013 to implement local government best practices in permitting and zoning. The project aims to create a mature solar energy industry and create opportunities for homeowners and businesses to more effectively use their solar energy resource. Non-hardware costs such as permitting, installation, design, and maintenance currently account for up to 40 percent of the total cost of installed rooftop solar photovoltaic systems in the United States. Lowering these costs is an important part of growing the solar energy industry so that it can create new jobs for American workers, improve U.S. energy security, and provide clean, renewable energy for American families and businesses.

Recent webinar: On December 5th, 2013 Brian Ross with CR Planning led an hour-long webinar to help attendees learn about the solar energy best practices in planning, zoning, and permitting that we recommend for advancing solar in your community. We are also offering free technical assistance wherein we will work with your community and put these best practices to work directly for you. Watch the webinar on YouTube or below to learn more, and click here to download Brian’s slides (9.5 mb ppt).

The Solar Arts Building in Minneapolis The Minnesota Solar Challenge is offering free technical assistance to communities who want to investigate adopting local government best practices for enabling solar energy development. Best practices focus on:

  • Removing barriers in local permitting processes (building and electric)
  • Understanding and adopting reasonable permit fees charged to solar installations
  • Ensuring that land use regulation (including comprehensive plan language and zoning) treats solar energy installations fairly and consistently with other similar land uses

Technical assistance can include:

  • Workshops detailing the local government best practices and how to adapt the best practices
  • Working directly with decision makers and staff to explain the value of solar
  • Presenting and discussing local best practices directly with commissions, staff and elected officials
  • Helping individual cities, counties or townships investigate how the best practices fit into existing processes and regulations
  • Writing draft language or guidance documents for permitting and land use standards to fit the local conditions and circumstances

Click here to sign up for free technical assistance >>

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    CERTs Partners:

Minnesota Department of Commerce University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and Extension Great Plains Institute Southwest Regional Development Commission