Hollywood, FL – The South Florida Regional Planning Council (SFRPC) has been selected to serve as a SolSmart Advisor to 13 communities across Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties and encourage solar energy growth through the reduction of barriers to solar energy development.
Through the Council’s partnership with SolSmart and the Department of Energy, the communities of Miami-Dade County (unincorporated), Miami Beach, Key West, Deerfield Beach, Tamarac, Miami Shores, Miami Lakes, Miramar, El Portal, Pompano Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Coral Gables, and Hallandale Beach are working to eliminate barriers to solar investment to bring greater solar deployment in their communities.
These 13 communities join hundreds of municipalities and counties nationwide that are participating in SolSmart, a national designation program that recognizes leading solar communities and empowers them to expand their local solar markets. SolSmart, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office, recognizes local governments who spur solar market growth by eliminating red tape and driving solar deployment in their communities. SolSmart is led by The Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association.
Participating communities in the SolSmart program are eligible to receive no-cost technical assistance from a team of national experts. A select group of communities also have the opportunity to work with SolSmart Advisors – experienced organizations that provide intensive guidance to help communities achieve designation.
Jennifer Barenholtz, Solsmart Advisor, will provide direct technical assistance to the 13 communities in the Council’s cohort. Ms. Barenholtz brings to the Council her experience and track record of success of working with Palm Beach County local governments to help communities receive a national SolSmart designation at the Gold, Silver, or Bronze level, showing they have taken key steps to encourage solar development.
“We are delighted to partner with SolSmart and the Department of Energy to bring this opportunity for technical assistance and expertise to our local governments. In addition to providing national recognition, becoming a SolSmart community brings a host of benefits including access to peer-to-peer networking and best practices. Most importantly, it positions communities for private investment and job creation in the solar industry while expanding future solar alternatives for residents and business owners,” said Isabel Cosio Carballo, SFRPC Executive Director.
“I am excited to continue my work as a SolSmart Advisor in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties. After the successes in Palm Beach County communities, it is wonderful to see further commitments by local governments in South Florida to adopt solar best practices. Working together, we will be able to help these communities cut the “red tape” and make it faster, easier, and more affordable to go solar for residents and small businesses,” said Jennifer Barenholtz, Solsmart Advisor.
“SolSmart has been extremely helpful in assisting the City of Miami Beach to review our permitting process and zoning code to improve processes and policies for the development of the solar market. We are very thankful for Solsmart’s work, assisting us to support the solar market development in our region” said Flavia Tonioli, Sustainability Manager with the City of Miami Beach.
To receive SolSmart designation, cities and counties assess and make changes to their local processes to reduce the time and money it takes to install a solar energy system. SolSmart uses objective criteria to award communities points based on the actions they take to reduce barriers to solar energy development. To date, more than 220 communities in 37 states have achieved SolSmart designation.
The SolSmart designation criteria are related to solar permitting and inspections, planning and zoning, construction codes, solar rights, utility engagement, community engagement, and market development and finance. Through these efforts, the SFRPC will help make solar energy more affordable and accessible for South Florida residents. All municipalities and counties are eligible to join the SolSmart program and receive no-cost technical assistance. For additional information, please contact Jennifer Barenholtz (firstname.lastname@example.org), the South Florida Regional Planning Council at 954-924-3653 (email@example.com), or visit SolSmart.org.
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March 18, 2019 Isabel Cosio Carballo