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This designation recognizes Richton Park for taking bold steps to encourage solar energy growth and remove obstacles to solar development. For companies looking to expand, a SolSmart Silver designation is a signal that Richton Park is “open for solar business.”
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 150 cities, counties, and small towns have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016.
As a SolSmart designee, Richton Park 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 actions Richton Park has taken will help encourage solar companies to do business in the area, driving economic development and creating local jobs.
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.
President Reinbold is excited, stating "It is a beautiful thing to see the Village’s dedication and effort in pursuing opportunities that will establish a more energy efficient community and environment. Richton Park’s streamlining for Solar will make it faster, easier, and cheaper for such renewable energy initiatives and programs."
Progressively removing barriers to solar development, Richton Park is educating residents and businesses on the benefits of solar energy. Richton Park has created a vast online resource at RichtonPark.org under “Solar Richton Park,” that consists of solar panel checklists, sample site plans, necessary permits and applications, guidelines, solar toolkits, and other helpful resources for residents and businesses interested in installing Solar. With grants available, Richton Park is planning to work with developers to install solar systems village-wide as well.
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.