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OKC Officially Recognized for Encouraging Solar Energy Growth

07.27.17

 

The OKC Office of Sustainability announced they had earned an Official SolSmart recognition at the last OREC monthly meeting, and they released a press release yesterday on their website.  It is an exciting bit of news for a market that needs any help it can get.  The OKC solar market is challenged by low utility costs, unfavorable interconnection rules and  net metering rates.  Each of those was addressed by this effort, as well a demonstration of leadership for our city. More efforts to lower the soft costs and break down the barriers to widespread adoption of solar are still necessary.  Hopefully this creates a pathway for future endeavors and continues to lessen the stigma of solar in Oklahoma.

 

    The City of Oklahoma City has earned national recognition for its efforts to promote solar energy.

    SolSmart, a program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Sunshot Initiative, awarded the City a bronze designation for making it easier for people to choose solar energy options.

    “Solar energy is a job creation opportunity. As an energy industry capital, it’s important for us to continue the growth in solar jobs in Oklahoma City,” said City Sustainability Manager T.O. Bowman. “Solar jobs in Oklahoma City grew by 106 percent from 2015 to 2016. We need to ensure that momentum continues.”

    To earn the bronze designation, local governments take steps to reduce soft costs involved in installing a solar energy system. The City’s Sustainability Office added permitting information to okc.gov to clarify the process for a solar installation, reviewed City code affecting solar energy, led discussions on smart rate design and potential legislation, and provided staff training.

    The SolSmart designation team, led by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), evaluates communities on steps to reduce soft costs and other barriers to going solar.

    As part of the SolSmart program, all participating communities are eligible to request no-cost technical assistance from a team of national solar experts to help them achieve designation. The SolSmart technical assistance team is led by The Solar Foundation.

    Launched in April 2016, SolSmart aims to designate 300 communities during the three-year, federally funded program.

 

 

Here is a link to the full story, published on the OKC.gov website on 7/26/2017:  https://okc.gov/Home/Components/News/News/2367/18