July 30, 2020
CONTACT: Mari Brunner, Planner – firstname.lastname@example.org / 603-352-5440
Keene is receiving a Bronze designation from the national SolSmart program for making it faster, easier, and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar.
This designation recognizes Keene for taking bold steps to encourage solar energy growth and remove obstacles to solar development. For companies looking to expand, a SolSmart Bronze designation is a signal that Keene is “open for solar business.”
Mayor George Hansel said, “This latest designation is a testament to the shared commitment by our citizens, elected leaders, city staff, businesses, and other community partners to reach our ambitious renewable energy goals. Once again, Keene is leading our peers. I’m very proud to be a part of this forward-thinking community that doesn't hesitate to tackle big ideas.”
SolSmart is led by The Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. More than 370 cities, counties, and small towns have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016. SolSmart uses objective criteria to award communities points based on the actions they take to reduce barriers to solar energy development. Communities that take sufficient action are designated either gold, silver, or bronze.
As a SolSmart designee, Keene is helping solar companies reduce the cost of installations and pass those savings on to consumers. This allows even more local homes and businesses to obtain affordable, clean, and reliable electricity through solar. The actions Keene has taken will help encourage solar companies to do business in the area, driving economic development and creating local jobs.
Through its participation in the SolSmart program, the City conducted a review of current land use and zoning regulations to identify potential barriers to solar development and created a website with resources for residents, businesses, and other stakeholders to learn more about programs and incentives for renewable energy - www.keeneenergyplan.com/resources. In addition, the City offers a property tax exemption for solar systems and other renewable energy systems equal to the total assessed value attributed to the system. The property tax exemption is available to both residents and businesses, and can help make the decision to “go solar” financially feasible.
As part of the SolSmart program, a team of national experts provides no-cost technical assistance to help communities achieve 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.