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City of Davis Receives “SolSmart Gold” Award for Advancing Solar Energy Growth

Post Date:May 01, 2017 1:55 p.m.

SolSmart, a program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, has recognized Davis with a Gold Award.  Davis will be identified as a national leader in advancing solar energy at the American Planners Association annual conference taking place in New York City May 6-9, 2017.

As a SolSmart Gold designee, Davis is receiving national recognition for adopting programs and practices that make it faster, easier, and cheaper to go solar. A SolSmart designation is a signal that the community is “open for solar business,” helping to attract solar industry investment and generate economic development and local jobs.

solsmart award presentation
City of Davis sustainability intern Valerie Yanez
(center), who helped compile successful Solsmart
Gold Award application materials, and Yvonne
Hunter (right), who collaborated with the City
on the recent Beacon Silver Award, accepted the
City's Proclamation designating April 22, 2017 as
Earth Day from Councilmember Rochelle Swanson.

“Nearly 3,000 total homes in our community now have rooftop solar, making Davis one of the highest per-capita solar production communities in the nation.” stated Robb Davis, City of Davis Mayor.

Davis continued, “In order to sever our reliance on greenhouse gas producing fossil fuels, we need to build a deeper relationship with the sun. In 2010, we set a goal to produce 5% of the peak electricity used in Davis (2.6 megawatts) from local renewable energy sources by 2015. We exceeded that goal by approximately 10 times; in just the five year period between 2010 to 2015, over 2,000 solar PV systems that generate 29.6 megawatts (Mw) were installed.”

New ‘Double Up on Solar’ goals established by Davis City Council last year are to double the number of single family household roof top systems to approximately 4,500 and double the total residential power production capacity by installing an additional 21 Mw by the end of 2020. As a community, we reached our annual goal of 500 solar system permits in 2016 and hope to reach another 550 in 2017.

Chris Granger, Executive Director of Cool Davis said, “We are excited and proud that our City earned the SolSmart Gold award. Cool Davis has been working with the City of Davis and the community on reducing our carbon footprint since 2010. Efforts are paying off, especially now. Local solar entrepreneurs and energy experts have dedicated time and expertise to our Double Up on Solar campaign. Davis businesses and residents have really stepped up! Hopefully this award can generate even more community excitement about rooftop solar energy.”

About SolSmart
To achieve designation, cities and counties take steps to reduce solar “soft costs,” which are non-hardware costs that can increase the time and money it takes to install a solar energy system. Examples of soft costs include planning and zoning; permitting; financing; customer acquisition; and installation labor. Soft costs now represent roughly two-thirds of the total price of an installed residential system. Reducing these costs leads to savings that are passed on to consumers.

The SolSmart designation team, led by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), evaluates communities and awards them points based on the actions they take to reduce soft costs and other barriers to solar, leading to gold, silver, or bronze designation. Launched in April 2016, SolSmart aims to designate 300 communities during the three-year, federally funded program.

SolSmart is a national designation and technical assistance program that recognizes leading solar communities and empowers additional communities to expand their local solar markets. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, SolSmart strives to cut red tape, drive greater solar deployment, and make it possible for even more American homes and businesses to access solar energy to meet their electricity needs. Learn more at SolSmart.org.

About the SunShot Initiative
The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort that aggressively drives innovation to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources before the end of the decade. Through SunShot, the Energy Department supports efforts by private companies, universities, and national laboratories to drive down the cost of solar electricity to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour. Learn more at energy.gov/sunshot.

For more information, please contact Kerry Daane Loux, City of Davis Sustainability Coordinator, at 530-747-8246 or kloux@cityofdavis.org