This designation recognizes Pueblo for taking bold steps to encourage solar energy growth and remove obstacles to solar development. For companies looking to expand, a SolSmart Bronze designation is a signal that the City of Pueblo is “open for solar business.”
“Receiving this recognition is truly an honor for the City of Pueblo,” says Pueblo City Council President Chris Nicoll. “I think this shows how committed Pueblo is to utilizing more renewable sources of energy to provide our citizens with more options for access to electricity. I believe this is also reflected by our City Council’s decision to set a goal for the city to be using 100% renewable energy by 2035. I think we are making progress to achieve this goal and removing more barriers to access will benefit our citizens and our planet.”
SolSmart is led by The Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. More than 180 cities, counties, and small towns have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016.
Pueblo City Council District 2 Representative Larry Atencio says the work which led to the national recognition is one aspect of looking at the community’s energy future.
“Pueblo’s efforts to make it easier to install solar will enhance our efforts to reach our goal to make Pueblo a 100% renewable city by its goal date of 2035.”
As a SolSmart designee, Pueblo is helping solar companies greatly reduce the cost of installations and pass those savings on to consumers. This allows even more local homes and businesses to obtain affordable, clean, and reliable electricity through solar. The city has taken several actions to make this possible including.
- Offering an online process for permitting submittal and approval (at City Planning) that requires only 3 days or less for the permitting process
- Requiring no more than one application form for a residential rooftop PV project
- Installing solar panels at the City’s waste water treatment plant in 2009
- Participating in Pueblo FLEX to encourage solar PV on vacant land at the Pueblo Chemical Depot
- Integrate goals related to use of solar energy into local comprehensive and strategic plans
- Regional Building Department also deserves credit for easing the permit process for this kind of technology, by keeping the review process for solar panels installed on existing rooftops to 3 days or less.
To receive designation, cities and counties make changes to their local processes to reduce the time and money it takes to install a solar energy system. This includes evaluating local permitting processes, as well as planning and zoning procedures. SolSmart designees also develop innovations in areas such as market development and finance.
SolSmart uses objective criteria to award communities points based on the actions they take to reduce barriers to solar energy development. Communities that take sufficient action are designated either gold, silver, or bronze.
As part of the SolSmart program, a team of national experts provides no-cost technical assistance to help communities achieve designation. All cities and counties are eligible to join the SolSmart program and receive this technical assistance. Interested communities can learn more at SolSmart.org.