The National Civic League's focus on civic engagement and environmental sustainability led to engagement with the national SolSmart project.
SolSmart is a new national designation program, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative through the Solar Powering America by Recognizing Communities (SPARC) initiative, designed to recognize communities that have taken key steps to address local barriers to solar energy and foster the growth of mature local solar markets.
In March of 2017, Charleston County, South Carolina, was upgraded from a SolSmart Bronze designation to SolSmart Silver.
“There is an increased interest in solar power from both citizens and the business community in Charleston County,” according to Charleston County Building Services Director Carl Simmons. “Our department has met this demand by streamlining the permitting process and staying informed in the latest trends in solar energy. We are very pleased to be recognized for being a leading solar ready community.”
These designations show that county governments have done the hard work to make it faster, easier, and cheaper to go solar. Solar is a rapidly growing industry that was responsible for 1 in every 50 new U.S. jobs in 2016, according to the National Solar Jobs Census 2016. By cutting red tape and reducing obstacles to solar energy development, these counties are clearing the way for more economic growth and new jobs.
“Solar Power is a great example of how Charleston County strives to be on the cutting edge of providing the best to our citizens,” said County Council Chairman Elliott Summey. “This award is an excellent opportunity to shine a light on our efforts to provide our citizens, businesses, and industry the best support and tools they need to invest in solar power.”