Upper Merion Township was recently awarded a bronze designation for taking important first steps to encourage solar energy growth by SolSmart, a program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative.
As a bronze designee, Upper Merion is receiving national recognition for adopting programs and practices that make it easier to go solar.
“Alternative energy programs are crucial to building a resilient and sustainable community,” said Board of Supervisors Vice Chairperson Greg Philips. “Solar energy will help our residents and businesses by lowering their energy costs, while also providing the community with clean energy that meets our sustainability goals. We are thrilled to receive this designation from SolSmart and look forward to being able to help our community achieve solar energy growth.”
The township is looking to attract solar industry development by taking steps to reduce solar “soft costs,” which are non-hardware costs that can increase the time and resources it takes to install a solar energy system. These costs include planning and zoning, permitting, financing, customer acquisition and installation labor. Reducing these costs leads to savings that are then passed on to consumers.
In order to achieve this, Upper Merion streamlined its solar permitting process, made additional informational resources available on the township website and committed to including considerations for solar and other alternative energy sources in all of its planning activities.
Upper Merion continues to explore how it can best support alternative energies like solar, particularly through zoning code amendments that are more conducive to these improving and growing technologies.