The Village of Brookfield was recognized today by the national SolSmart program at an event at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory. Keynote speakers were Congressman Bill Foster and Illinois Deputy Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, who issued an proclamation (see link below) honoring the Village along with a small group of other Illinois local governments. The Village earned the award for making it faster, easier, and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar.
This designation recognizes Brookfield 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 the Village is “open for solar business.”
Background. In partnership with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, 15 local governments from around the Chicago region worked collaboratively to make changes to their local processes that reduce the time and money it takes to install a solar energy system. This includes evaluating local permitting processes, as well as planning and zoning procedures. SolSmart designees also develop innovations in areas such as market development and finance.
All municipal participants are signatories to the Greenest Region Compact 2, which was created by the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and its membership to unify regional sustainability efforts. In addition to renewable energy, the Compact also expands opportunities for municipal leaders to take action in the areas such as economic development, energy efficiency, land use, greener municipal operations, sustainable communities, and water.
Local Impacts. As a SolSmart designee, the Village 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 obtain affordable, clean, and reliable electricity through solar. The actions taken will help encourage solar companies to do business in the area, driving economic development and creating local jobs. For example, the Village now allows by right (zoning pre-approval) solar PV panels to be installed in the “station areas” around the 3 Metra stations.
SolSmart designated communities in the Chicago-area are now poised to take advantage of new opportunities for solar energy investment under the Future Energy Jobs Act. A SolSmart designation helps encourage solar companies to do business in the community, driving economic development and creating local jobs.
SolSmart is administered 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. The Metropolitan Mayors Caucus is a membership organization of the Chicago region’s 275 cities, towns and villages that fosters collaboration towards a common goal of improving the quality of life for the millions of people who call the region home.