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Solar panel installation

Mayor’s memo: City’s solar practices shine with new SolSmart Gold designation

The future of solar energy is bright in Bloomington. The City recently received SolSmart Gold designation from The Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association. This designation is reserved for cities and counties that make it fast, easy and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar. And it goes a long way in highlighting Bloomington as a community of choice in the Twin Cities region.

City staff has worked to be leaders in solar energy for years. The designation from the national SolSmart program recognizes practices that were already in place here at the City. From establishing the goal of completing accurate inspection requests in three business days to code requirements that line up with best practices that ensure ease of solar installation, Bloomington has taken bold steps to encourage solar energy growth and remove obstacles to solar development. 

As a SolSmart Gold designee, the City of Bloomington is helping solar companies greatly reduce the cost of installations and pass those savings on to consumers. This allows even more local homes and businesses to access affordable, clean and reliable electricity through solar. 

The Sustainability Commission spearheaded the effort to seek the SolSmart Gold designation for the City’s ongoing efforts to make solar power easy to access in Bloomington. This project is part of the commission’s larger goal to reduce citywide energy use by 75 percent by 2035 relative to 2016. This is one of the strategies in play to reduce energy use and become a more sustainable Bloomington.

The City Council made sustainability a priority because we want Bloomington to be as great a place to live for future generations as it is for us now. We want to be able to enjoy our parks and natural resources in the future, as we do today. And we’re doing everything we can to make that happen. 

To read more about a local organization that recently went through the process of installing solar panels as a part of their larger energy-efficiency efforts see page 4. 

With the feedback the City received from SolSmart during the application process, staff made information on solar installation and permits easier to find on the website. To learn more about how to get started, visit blm.mn/solarenergy.