How EPCs and Developers Can Help Local Governments Unlock the Environmental and Economic Benefits of Solar

Local governments are important when it comes to renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions.

Local governments are important when it comes to renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions. They can do this by installing solar panels on their buildings and in open spaces. As of Jan 2022, more than 180 U.S. communities have committed to using only renewable energy, with 50 of those communities already achieving this goal.

That's a good start, but it's not enough to get to full decarbonization. Although many local leaders remain committed to transitioning to clean energy, some people might not realize the full benefits of renewable energy or need convincing.

EPCs and project developers can help local governments transition to renewable energy by providing the necessary information and data. A mix of funding, planning, and PV project value can be the key to helping your local government make the switch.

Resources, Tools, and Funding

There are many resources and online tools to help local governments electrify and decarbonize. These resources also provide companies that build electric power plants (EPCs) with additional tools to draft requests for proposals (RFPs) that generate the most benefits and value.

There have been some big changes in the field of energy planning recently. One of these changes is the launch of State and Local Planning for Energy (SLOPE). This online platform makes it easy for people to find data-driven state and local energy plans. SLOPE has two main functions: a scenario planner and a data viewer. The scenario planner lets you compare different energy scenarios, while the data viewer lets you explore data on things like renewables, efficiency, and transportation. With this information, you can identify more opportunities for solar projects.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers the Local Government Solar Project Portal. This platform provides resources for project development, and users can access a network of industry experts and stakeholders as well as training, webinars, and workshops. The website also maintains the Local Government Solar Project List. This detailed table lists solar project progress from participating municipalities, which lets users leverage the experience of other developers with similar challenges and opportunities.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) released the third edition of Solar Power In Your Community in Jan. 2022. This guide provides detailed explanations of community solar, case studies of real-world examples, supplemental resources, and how to get started with local government involvement. Community solar is an excellent opportunity for local governments to pursue renewable energy goals, and a successful program must engage and excite potential customers about getting involved. City-led community solar projects are more likely to be successful because the officials and politicians who are in charge of them are more familiar with how to do outreach programs and how to communicate with local residents.

The RMI and World Resources Institute have a tool that can help you find funding opportunities for local decarbonization. The FFOLD system can help local governments prioritize and leverage existing federal funding to advance system-wide energy transition goals. These opportunities include identifying block grants, technical assistance, competitive grants, loans, and revolving loan funds.

The National Community Solar Partnership provides a wide network of solar industry veterans who can help promote and install community solar projects.

These resources, platforms, and groups are smart first steps to help EPCs and developers find the right solar solution for their local governments. In the end, local governments need to make sure that any new projects benefit the community and provide increased value for residents.

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