The village of Montgomery recently received an award at Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont for earning the SolSmart Gold designation.
SolSmart is a national program designed to recognize communities that have taken key steps to foster the growth of mature local solar markets. Communities that meet the official criteria are designated SolSmart Gold, Silver or Bronze.
To achieve Gold, the highest designation, Montgomery earned at least 200 points for adopting solar best practices across eight categories of strategic SolSmart activities. Most importantly, the community updated zoning codes to allow solar and indicate that the community prioritizes it.
Montgomery staff also committed to process rooftop solar permits in three business days or less, and inspection staff received hands-on training best practices for permitting and inspecting solar systems.
For transparency and efficiency, Montgomery created a solar installation permitting checklist, and posted it on the community’s website. This not only allows local residents to see the process, but helps those applying for a solar permit to produce the necessary forms far more easily, completely and quickly.
Montgomery was one of 23 communities honored during the Argonne ceremony.
The communities “did an exceptional job, working tirelessly in a multitude of ways to earn their designations,” said Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns, who chairs the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus Environment Committee.
“In addition, their staffs collaborated with counterparts at other municipalities to share resources and provide advice, assisting each other in their quests to achieve SolSmart designation,” Burns said.
The caucus served as a SolSmart adviser to 20 communities and was the chief catalyst in the communities’ drive to seek designation.
“Each community awarded SolSmart designation deserves their business owners’ and other citizens’ appreciation for providing clean, solar energy options and advancing the Greenest Region Compact’s commitment to enhanced sustainability,” Burns said.