Reducing Barriers to Solar for Local Governments
View presentations from ICLEI's 2012-2013 webinar series
About the Series
Throughout 2012, ICLEI and partners hosted free, monthly webinars with the goal of helping local governments overcome barriers to deploying solar energy and making local investment in solar more attractive. Each month we’ll cover timely topics and assemble leading experts who provide tips, resources, and case studies on the actions that local governments, utilities, industry professionals and policymakers are taking to increase their solar portfolios. You’ll come away with valuable insights to help you and other stakeholders in your community.
Commercial PACE: Program Development and Implementation
This webinar covers the important aspects of Commercial PACE programs that make them viable financing tools for state and local governments looking to support clean energy use in condominiums, retail spaces, warehouses, and other commercial properties. Speakers from Lean County, Florida, and Washington, DC, will discuss what logistical and political obstacles they faced in developing their programs, how best to work with local contractors, and what benefits can be derived from pursuing a Commercial PACE Program.
Speakers include:Kristin Dozier, County Commissioner, Leon County, FL Maggie Theriot, Director, Office of Resource Stewardship, Leon County, FL Dave Good, District Department of Environment, DC
Solar Powering Your Community
As the cost of residential solar energy continues its steady decline, more homeowners across the nation are becoming interested in unlocking the environmental and financial benefits solar can offer. While the desire to go solar has grown over time, so too has the number of communities governed by homeowners associations (HOAs). The solar development potential of these communities is immense. Installing solar on only 5% of all U.S. homes governed by HOAs would create as much new solar capacity as was added in the entire country in 2012. In fulfilling their mission to protect community aesthetics and to balance new development with other competing interests, HOAs have often established design guidelines for solar energy that can jeopardize a homeowner’s return on investment in solar, make the approval process for
solar installations unnecessarily confusing or complex, or overlook solar energy altogether. In this webinar, learn ways in which these barriers can be addressed while respecting HOA authority to protect other community interests.
SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership Technical Assistance Overview
Learn how your local government can benefit from ICLEI's free solar technical assistance through the SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership. ICLEI's technical assistance program provides support of local government initiatives to remove barriers in local markets and increase installed solar capacity. This webinar discussed the different technical assistance offerings including one on one direct assistance, an 'Ask an Expert' web portal, and peer support groups. Speakers also provided examples of current projects that they have worked on for the SolarOPs technical assistance program.
Property Tax Webinar
May 22, 2013
In this webinar, the leading authors of a working report on the assessment and taxation of PV equipment discuss their key findings, including how different states classify, assess, and tax PV property; the relative burden of property taxes in different jurisdictions; issues that complicate the assessment and taxation processes, and strategies for resolving these issues. The speakers include Casey Johnston of ICLEI-USA, Justin Barnes of North Carolina Solar Center, and Chad Laurent of Meister Consultants Group.
Feed-In Tariff Webinar
April 10, 2013
Over the last twelve months, several municipal utilities have adopted new, and at times innovative, Feed-in Tariff (FiT) programs. Through these initiatives, utilities offer to purchase all the electricity produced by eligible solar energy systems at attractive prices and under long-term contracts. When properly designed, these incentive programs can be highly effective at stimulating local demand for solar energy. Speakers will include Chad Laurent of Meister Consultants Group, Michael Deering of Long Island Power Authority, Anh Wood of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and Leslie Libby of Austin Energy.
Community Choice Aggregation: A Tool for Municipalities
Through CCA programs, municipalities are empowered to negotiate electric supply rates with power providers on behalf of the residents and business owners within their jurisdiction, often resulting in significantly lower electricity rates. In addition to the financial benefits of CCA, many communities have used aggregation as a mechanism to promote cleaner sources of electric generation.
Speakers included Sharon Durling, from the Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Collaborative; Scott Stiles, from the City of Cincinnati which recently created a CCA program offering 100% renewable energy; and Brenda Fargo, from the retail electricity supplier, FirstEnergy Solutions.
Community-Shared Solar Success Stories
Community-shared solar can allow individuals and organizations unable to take advantage of on-site renewable generation to participate in distributed generation and support the development of renewable energy. During this webinar held on Nov. 28, 2012, Erica Schroeder from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) examined how successful community-shared solar programs are run. In addition to providing information about on-the-ground successes, Ms. Schroeder distilled information gathered across programs, and offered advice about characteristics and components of successful programs based on IREC's research. Finally, Rich Swope from Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU), a municipal utility in Colorado, presented on CSU's successful Community Solar Gardens program, providing some detail on the program's structure, how it got started, how its implementation has gone and any lessons learned, and plans for the program's future.
Ask the Utility: Working With Your Local Municipal Utility
This webinar focused on a discussion with municipal utility representatives about the opportunities and limitations of increasing distributed solar electricity, and how municipal utilities have worked successfully with local governments to implement best practices and policies around solar development and interconnection.
This webinar educated local government professionals who are interested in learning about how to better collaborate with municipal utilities to develop solar projects in their community. Participants of this webinar will come away with a better understanding of the following issues: how municipal utilities view solar, how to best work with your muni and other utilities, and how to leverage electric utility expertise.
Bringing Down the Cost of Solar Through Community Shared Solar Programs
Local government representatives will learn how public-private partnerships can be used to implement community shared solar programs. Get an understanding of the different ways that community shared solar programs can be structured, how public and private resources can be combined for community shared solar, the status of community shared solar across the US, and lessons learned from existing community shared solar programs. Unfortunately, due to technical issues, this webinar was not recorded.
Ask the Utility: Working With Your Local Investor-Owned Utility
The objective of this webinar is to advance the deployment of solar energy by providing local government representatives an opportunity to gain insights into how best to work with their local investor-owned utilities (IOU). Participants of this free webinar will come way with a better understanding of how IOUs view solar, how to best work with your IOU or other utility and how to leverage electric utility expertise.
Addressing Solar Myths and Misconceptions
As more and more local governments and individuals look to develop and support solar power installations on their homes and communities, it is important to be able to address questions and concerns about solar power technologies. In addition, there are many myths and misconceptions about solar technologies that often need to be addressed. This webinar explored the most common of these myths and present the facts about solar, and facilitated discussion and provided concrete examples of methods to overcome the myths surrounding solar technologies for local governments.
Improving the Efficiency of the Rooftop Solar Permitting Process
The webinar seeks to facilitate discussion and to provide concrete examples of methods for improving the rooftop permitting process that benefit installers as well as local governments. It discusses approaches being used across the country to help catalyze action at a local, regional and state level to improve the efficiency of the rooftop permitting process and highlights specific improvements being put into place. It outlines the pros and cons of these approaches and discuss how application of different strategies may vary depending upon the governance structure in place. The discussion centers on examples highlighted in the Interstate Renewable Energy Council's report "Sharing Success: Emerging Approaches to Efficient Rooftop Solar Permitting."
Firefighter Safety and Photovoltaic (PV) Systems
April 17, 2012
This webinar will share the results of research conducted by UL to examine the fire service concerns of photovoltaic (PV) systems and the potential impact of firefighting operations. These concerns included firefighter vulnerability to electrical and casualty hazards when mitigating a fire involving PV systems.
The need for this project is significant due to the increasing use of PV systems, growing at a rate of 30% annually. As a result of greater utilization, traditional firefighter tactics for suppression, ventilation and overhaul have been complicated, leaving firefighters vulnerable to potentially severe hazards. Though the electrical and fire hazards associated with PV systems have been known for some time, a very limited body of knowledge and insufficient data exists to understand the risks to the extent that the fire service has been unable to develop safety solutions and respond in a safe manner.
During the webinar, presenter Bob Backstrom from UL’s Corporate Research Department and Dennis Grubb, Assistant Fire Marshal from the Orange County Fire Authority will share data and specific examples that will assist local governments and the fire service community to develop best practices to reduce firefighter death and injury.
Additional Video Interviews With Firefighters
Saving With Solar: Understanding Retail Solar Power Purchase Agreements
March 15, 2012
In 2010, PPAs and leases made up around 43% of all PV installations (by capacity) in the non-residential sector and approximately 17% of capacity additions in the residential sector. In this webinar, we examined the emergence of PPAs and discussed the future of PPAs and other similar ownership structures. PPA experts discussed how retail PPAs work, how municipalities have taken advantage of the PPA model to lock-in their energy costs, and discussed innovative PPA ownership models.
Speakers drew upon their experience in implementing solar PPAs to provide an understanding of the advantages and limitations of PPAs. The webinar began with a summary of where, and under what conditions, retail PPAs work in the U.S. This discussion briefly mentioned the intricacies that affect the legality of retail PPAs. Financing issues were highlighted, and speakers covered how local governments can finance PPAs.
We also highlighted two case studies of local governments that have used a PPA or hybrid PPA model to install solar. Examples from Morris County, NJ and Natick, MA will be covered.
Working with Your Local Electric Utility
Feb. 8, 2012
Cooperation between local governments and electrical utilities is essential to accelerating broad deployment of renewable energy. Join ICLEI USA and partners to learn how to work with your utility to create improved conditions for bringing renewable energy online. We'll focus on topics related to working with electric cooperatives on solar.
Hear directly from a panel of Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) member electrical utility representatives about the opportunities and limitations of increasing distributed solar electricity, and how they have worked successfully with local governments to implement best practices and policies around solar development and interconnection.