Village of Mount Prospect, IL

Village of Mount Prospect awarded SolSmart Gold for promoting solar energy growth

The village of Mount Prospect receives a gold award from the state SolSmart Program to make the transition to solar energy faster, easier and more affordable for homes and businesses.

This award recognizes the Village of Mount Prospect for taking bold steps to encourage solar energy growth and remove barriers to solar development. For companies looking to expand, a SolSmart Gold award is a signal that the Village of Mount Prospect is “open to the solar business.”

SolSmart is governed by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and funded by the US Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. More than 400 cities, counties, and towns have received SolSmart recognition since the program began in 2016.

“The Village Code was changed in 2016 to allow solar energy conversion systems. The Department of Construction and Inspection Services has issued over 150 solar permits over the past four years. The SolSmart application process gave employees an opportunity to gain national recognition for the village’s efforts and to support our community’s sustainability efforts,” said assistant village manager Alex Bertolucci.

“We are committed to supporting sustainable building practices and alternative energy systems in the community,” said William Schroeder, Director of Building and Inspection Services.

As a SolSmart designer, Village of Mount Prospect helps solar companies significantly reduce installation costs and pass those savings on to consumers. This will enable even more local homes and businesses to get affordable, clean, and reliable electricity from solar power. The actions taken by the Village of Mount Prospect will help encourage solar companies to do business in the area, driving economic development and creating local jobs.

To earn the designation, cities and counties are making changes to their local processes to reduce the time and money required to install a solar power system. This includes assessing local permitting, planning and zoning procedures. SolSmart designers also innovate in areas such as market development and finance.

Here are some examples of actions the Village of Mount Prospect has taken to achieve a Solsmart award.

  • Staff created websites to share information on how to start considering solar energy and a permit checklist that reviews local regulations, the permitting process, and how to schedule an inspection.
  • The village hosted solar informational events called “Solar Power Hours” for community members in 2019 and 2020 to “educate themselves about the basics of solar power and its financial impact on a household. These sessions also supported the Citizens Utility Board and Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s community-wide residential solar solar purchase program, Solarize Chicagoland.
  • In 2021, The Village of Mount Prospect partnered with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus to launch the state’s largest community solar program called the CS2 Residential and Small Commercial Program, which will provide consumers with easy and immediate access to new community solar farms in north of Illinois offers.

In addition to receiving a SolSmart Gold designation, SolSmart also recognized the Village of Mount Prospect with a Special Recognition Award. The SolSmart Special Recognition Award celebrates and shines a light on communities that have gone above and beyond – by earning at least 60% of the total available credits in one or more of Permitting’s eight SolSmart categories; planning, zoning and development; Inspection; building codes; solar rights; utility engagement; community engagement; and Marketing, Development and Finance. The village of Mount Prospect received a Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Community Involvement Criteria category. “I am grateful to our team for finding ways to incentivize the use of solar energy in Mount Prospect,” said Mayor Paul Hoefert. “Sustainable practices and protecting our environment are top priorities for our community.”

SolSmart uses objective criteria to award points to communities based on actions they are taking to remove barriers to solar energy development. Communities that take sufficient action are awarded either Gold, Silver, or Bronze.

As part of the SolSmart program, a team of national experts provide free technical assistance to help communities obtain designation. All municipalities, counties, and regional organizations are eligible to join the SolSmart program and receive this technical assistance. Interested communities can learn more at SolSmart.org.

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