The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) has recognized Will County as a solar-leading community in the 2017 SolSmart Program. The program is a component of the larger SunShot Initiative, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, a national effort to drive down the cost of solar electricity and support solar adoption.
Will County has been named a SolSmart Bronze designee for its commitment to the development of solar energy that reduces utility costs and supports the environment. In an effort to showcase Will County’s commitment to residential solar development, County Executive Larry Walsh signed a solar statement in 2016 supporting the reduction of barriers to residential solar development to initiate Will County’s participation in the SolSmart program.
“I am proud of the efforts of our Land Use Department to encourage the use of solar power in our county,” Walsh said. “By including solar energy as an option on our county’s building permits, we are encouraging our residents to utilize solar energy whenever possible. Will County is committed to embracing green practices to preserve our natural resources.”
SolSmart has inspired simplified zoning ordinance language around residential and utility-scale solar with “Alternative Energy” now an option on Will County’s Building Permit Application accompanied by the Will County Residential Solar Permitting Checklist & Guide. Additional efforts include enhanced training for permitting and inspection staff and increased public resources regarding solar energy systems and consumer protection.
Will County Energy and Conservation Specialist Samantha Bluemer said. “When building the Residential Solar Permitting Checklist & Guide, we kept resident usefulness and understanding as top priorities. Now residents can know exactly what is required for this unique project type and can feel more confident applying for a permit.”
Will County was awarded this designation in part because of its efficient building and zoning processes. The newly adopted online Public Portal allows the public to apply, pay for, and receive building permits remotely and offers inspection scheduling options.
“Will County is constantly assessing its laws, rules and regulations to make certain that our policies are promoting positive, sustainable growth,” said Curt Paddock, Director of the Will County Land Use Department. “That is why we are so proud to receive this recognition that acknowledges the solid efforts our County’s leaders are making to advance the development and use of innovative solar technologies in Will County.”
For more information about the designation, visit the website: www.SolSmart.org For more information about green initiatives in Will County, visit www.willcountygreen.com.
Jack Morgan (Project Manager) of NACo (on right) and Chris Walker (Project Manager) of The Solar Foundation (on left) presented the SolSmart Bronze award to Samantha Bluemer, Energy & Conservation Specialist in the Resource, Recovery, and Energy Division of the Will County Land Use Dept. at the recent NACo (National Association of Counties) conference held July 21-24 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo courtesy of the Will County Executive Office)