Energy Generation Goal 2: Diversify the energy supply
Sustainable energy generation
EG-2.1: Build sustainable community and neighborhood energy generation
Many residents and small businesses lack the resources or property to finance and install their own solar panels. Community solar gives individuals and institutions subscription-based access to larger, offsite area solar facilities without having to install them and credits users for their share of the solar energy used. This localized solution provides a more affordable and accessible option,
giving homeowners, renters, multifamily housing residents and businesses equitable access to the economic and environmental benefits of solar.
Community and neighborhood-based solar is a critical equity strategy, empowering underserved communities to enter the clean energy economy, decentralizing electricity and boosting grid resilience, and allowing communities to build wealth by using local solar power. Comprehensive virtual net metering policies are essential to the feasibility of community, neighborhood and multifamily solar.
In addition, group purchasing programs can help increase affordability and accessibility.
Policies that disincentivize community solar by adding cost to the consumer should be addressed. Policies like virtual net metering would enable individuals and institutions to take full advantage of community solar options. Community solar should be pursued and encouraged as an equitable and accessible option, empowering low-income communities, tenants and multifamily housing projects to democratize the creation and control of their power and giving them access to renewable energy revenue.
Expand solar energy
EG-2.2: Expand corporate, industrial and institutional solar energy generation
Commercial solar panels bring the financial and climate mitigation benefits of solar to businesses, local governments, schools and farms, allowing them to generate their own power to lower overhead and increase profits.
Energy makes up a significant portion of many institutions’ operating costs, and the rapidly falling cost of solar makes it more financially appealing.
Commercial solar generation boosts local economies, diversifies energy supply, promotes grid resilience and is a critical component to promoting renewable energy.
Virtual net metering plays a crucial role in the viability of institutional solar development.
Eliminating barriers to a diverse and competitive solar economy is key to incentivizing solar adoption for local businesses, governments and schools.
Ramping up renewable energy production is a key workforce development/jobs creation opportunity. Programming should be developed to support to local, small businesses or BIPOC-owned businesses that could utilize solar to reduce operational costs.
EG-2.3: Increase incentives and eliminate barriers for residential solar energy production
Growth in residential solar energy production is an essential component of transitioning toward 100% renewable energy. And rooftop solar has become an increasingly affordable option for homeowners.
Residential solar gives many consumers the power to generate their own electricity, promoting a more resilient grid and diverse energy supply. Strategies like net metering enable homeowners to save on utility bills and be compensated by the utility for any excess energy created.
Municipalities play a key role in cultivating local solar markets by streamlining the permitting and interconnection processes and eliminating prohibitive zoning codes and restrictions.
Widespread residential adoption would benefit from evaluation of demand charges, grid access fees and homeowner association rules. In addition, fiscal incentives like tax breaks, utility rebates and loans, as well as diverse financing options, help make solar more affordable
Complete streets by their nature provide a more equitable transportation system because they are designed more for people than single-occupant vehicles. Still, changes to streets are not always viewed by the neighborhood in a positive light. All communities should be engaged in changes to the built environment that affect them, and planners should make a concerted effort to engage nearby neighborhoods as early as possible during the planning process to gather input.