SolSmart: Blacksburg Joins 7 other Virginia Localities to Expand Solar Energy Use

Blacksburg has joined with seven other localities across the Commonwealth to foster the expansion of residential and commercial solar energy. The participating localities, which include Fairfax County, James City County, Newport News, Charlottesville, Richmond, Alexandria and the City of Fairfax, have banded together as a cohort to advance solar-friendly policy changes and attain individual designations as SolSmart communities. The cohort is supported by a technical advisor provided at no cost to these Virginia communities by the Solar Foundation. The Virginia cohort was one of only 2 in the country who were awarded a technical advisor for 2019.

Achieving SolSmart designation means that each of the localities in the cohort will undertake a comprehensive review of their local landscape as it pertains to solar, removing unnecessary policy obstacles, providing clear guidance to the public and solar installers, streamlining permitting, training staff, and supporting community solar purchasing programs. The SolSmart program is a points-based system in which localities can attain bronze, silver or gold designation. Local governments who achieve SolSmart designation serve as clean energy leaders, taking an active role in creating energy choice for their citizens, retaining energy dollars within the local economy, and supporting the economic development potential of the renewable energy field.

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The policy actions advanced by the SolSmart program closely align with the priority goals and strategies of the NRV Livability Initiative’s Energy Plan, particularly those found in Principle 6: “Develop renewable energy systems”, Principle 7: “Adopt local policies and promote state polices to implement the NRV Regional Energy Plan”, and Principle 8: “Engage multiple parties in creating a culture of clean energy.”

For more information contact Carol Davis, Sustainability Manager for the Town of Blacksburg at cdavis@blacksburg.gov.

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