BLOOMINGTON – Bloomington has received a Gold designation from the national SolSmart program (solsmart.org) for advancing the growth of solar energy across Bloomington.
This designation recognizes the City of Bloomington for taking steps that make it faster, easier, and more affordable for local homes and businesses to go solar by increasing education and awareness of solar energy. Achievement of the SolSmart Gold designation is a goal of both Bloomington’s Climate and Sustainability Action Plans.
SolSmart is led by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. SolSmart provides free technical assistance to help local governments reduce obstacles to solar energy development and more than 450 municipalities, counties, and regional organizations have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016. Bloomington joins twelve other communities in Indiana that have been designated through the SolSmart program.
“Thank you to IREC, ICMA, and DOE for the recognition. Receiving SolSmart Gold certification is an important step to achieving the Bloomington Climate Action Plan’s goal to support and accelerate the installation of on-site solar photovoltaics citywide. We would like to continue to encourage residents and businesses to go solar and take advantage of the 30 percent federal solar tax credit available until 2032 due to the Inflation Reduction Act,” said Lauren Clemens, Assistant Director of Sustainability.
The City of Bloomington was designated as “SolSmart Gold” due to scoring highly within the Community Engagement and Market Development categories. Examples of supportive programs include the Bloomington Green Home Improvement Program, a partnership with financial institutions to offer solar loans and rebates to eligible homeowners, and the Solar and Energy Efficiency Loan Program supporting grants and loans to non-profit organizations that provide community services. Other supportive City of Bloomington solar policies recognized as part of the designation include the Unified Development Ordinance, which codifies in the zoning ordinance that solar photovoltaics are explicitly allowed by right in all major zones.
“The City of Bloomington is looking toward its future through a lens of responsible energy management,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “Going solar means going sustainable and renewable while saving money and spending locally.”
About the Climate Action Plan
The City of Bloomington Climate Action Plan was passed unanimously on April 21, 2021, and recommends strategies for the City of Bloomington and the community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to local climate impacts. The goal of the Bloomington Climate Action plan is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% (below 2018 emissions levels) by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Read more at https://bton.in/d!xR8.
About the Sustainability Action Plan
The 2018 Sustainability Action Plan was developed by the Department of Economic and Sustainable Development, in coordination with consultants from Gnarly Tree Sustainability Institute, and with substantial input from City employees and community stakeholders. The five-year framework for Bloomington’s sustainability strategy identifies both short- and long-term goals and actions in City operations and within the broader community. The plan includes an evaluation and reporting mechanism for a comprehensive, community sustainability program that references environmental, economic, and equity elements. Read more at: https://bton.in/w-G7g.
About the SolSmart Program
As part of the SolSmart program, a team of national experts provides no-cost technical assistance to help communities and regional organizations achieve designation. SolSmart uses objective criteria to award points based on the actions organizations take to reduce barriers to solar energy development. Organizations that take sufficient action have designated either Gold, Silver, or Bronze. All municipalities, counties, and regional organizations are eligible to join the SolSmart program and receive technical assistance. Learn more about the SolSmart program at SolSmart.org.