Solar energy is a rapidly growing industry with over one million installations nationwide and over 260,000 domestic solar energy jobs. Municipalities and counties are increasingly faced with the need to address solar development as development costs decline and technologies for capturing solar energy value evolve.

The webinar will present best-practice guidance and real-life experiences to help planners integrate solar development into their communities. Megan Day, AICP, a renewable energy planner from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Brian Ross, AICP, Senior Program Director at Great Plains Institute, will provide an overview of planning and zoning best practices to help planners take thoughtful approaches to integrating solar into local plans and ordinances. The discussion will specifically cover addressing solar energy at both the large and small scale, and discuss perceived and real issues with solar development, such as glare, aesthetics, fire safety, and land use opportunity costs. James Schroll, an Arlington County Planning Commissioner who helps manage technical assistance to local governments through the national SolSmart certification program, will provide an overview of the SolSmart program, which provides no-cost technical assistance opportunities to local governments, specifically planning departments.

Attendees will learn about:

  • Plan-level policy issues that planners should be prepared to address as the solar development market grows and evolves.

  • The most recent national zoning best practices for different types of solar development.

  • Examples of zoning dilemmas and successes from communities in different states.

  • National SolSmart local government certification program and the technical assistance available to planners across the nation.

  • Resources and models available to planners across the country for addressing solar development in their community.’