ICMA Solar Survey to local governments reveals challenges, opportunities

Source: ICMA website

In the fall of 2011, ICMA conducted a solar survey of local governments. This survey, which was sent to more than 10,000 local governments with populations over 2,500 and all counties, to find out what local governments are doing to go solar.

What the data show is a picture of the solar landscape in local governments– the challenges, the initiatives underway, and areas where local governments can still take steps to help increase the spread of solar PV in their communities.

Some key findings:

  • Nearly a third of local governments cite challenges to solar energy development, and of those, nearly two thirds (64.0%) cite solar’s high cost;
  • Nearly half who responded had installed a solar system on local-government-owned facility or land (84.8% of these systems are solar PV, and 24.5% are solar water heating);
  • Local govts used zoning ordinances (43.1%), followed by comprehensive plans (34.8%), and green building codes (27.6%) to get solar installed. Financial incentives play a role in installing solar PV, either through local government or its municipal utility;
  • More than 17% report that financial incentives for installing solar PV are available either through the local government or the municipal utility. Of these, the most common are rebates, which 60.7% of those offering incentives report offering for residential installations and 63.4% report offering for commercial installations, followed by direct loans/low-interest loans (23.0% and 20.8% for residential and commercial respectively). Local governments offering direct incentives for solar PV installations are most likely to fund them through either state and federal grants or a publicly-owned utility budget (25.7% for both);
  • Only about 13% offer incentives for expedited permitting

To see the results of the survey, visit the ICMA site.




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