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Alexandria Named a “SolSmart Silver” for Advancing Solar Energy Growth

Alexandria received a Silver designation from the National SolSmart program for making it faster, easier, and more affordable to go solar.

Alexandria, VA – This designation recognizes the City for taking bold steps to encourage solar energy growth and remove obstacles to solar development. For companies looking to expand, a SolSmart Silver designation is a signal that Alexandria is “open for solar business.”

SolSmart, led by The Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office. Since the program’s launch in 2016, more than 300 cities, counties and towns have achieved SolSmart designation. 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, Alexandria is helping solar companies greatly reduce the cost of installations and pass those savings on to their consumers. This allows even more local homes and businesses to obtain affordable, clean and reliable electricity through solar. The actions the City has taken will help encourage solar companies to do business in the area, driving economic development and creating local jobs.

The City has codified solar energy systems in the zoning ordinance as an accessory use by right, which means that solar installations do not require special permits or hearings when the installation is not the primary use of the land (regular building and electrical permits are still required). The City has provided solar permitting and inspection training for Code Administration staff. The City has also revamped its renewable energy website to provide more information for community members considering installing solar.

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