City awarded gold designation by SolSmart

March 14, 2017

Louisville has been awarded a gold designation by SolSmart, a program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot Initiative, for its commitment to adopting practices that make it faster and easier to use solar energy. This is the highest designation given by SolSmart, distinguishing Louisville as a national leader in advancing solar energy.

A SolSmart designation provides national recognition that Louisville is a solar-friendly city ready to attract solar industry investment and to generate economic development and local jobs from the solar industry. Louisville is the first city in Kentucky to receive a designation from SolSmart.

“We are thrilled to achieve Gold designation in the SolSmart program. Solar power has become very cost effective and our citizens are eager to harness the sun’s energy in their homes and businesses,” Maria Koetter, Director of the Louisville Metro Office of Sustainability, said. “Through participating in the SolSmart program, we now have a clear-cut process for permitting and installing solar panels.”

To achieve designation, cities 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.

To reduce these soft costs, the Office of Sustainability has worked the Offices of Planning & Design and Construction Review to create a smooth process for the installation of solar panels and for easy access to all necessary solar information. The city has installed solar on six of its own buildings including Newburg Library, Metro Development Center, Mary T. Meagher Aquatic Center and Louisville Fire Company No. 10.

A total of 36 communities have now received SolSmart gold, silver or bronze designation since the program was launched in 2016, representing 21.8 million people in 18 states. Louisville joins New York City and Denver as gold designees this year.

For complete information on installing solar in Louisville, please visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/sustainability/installing-solar-loui...