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Simplified Application Process Sends Solar Uptake through the Roof

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A few simple changes in the local application process led to a 3,000% increase in the issuance of solar panel permits in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg. The municipality made the changes with guidance from SolSmart, a solar power recognition program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

“Two years ago, only three private buildings in suburban Schaumburg, Illinois, had solar panels. But now the village has issued permits for more than 100 homes and five commercial sites,” reports [1] Yale Climate Connections.

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Martha Dooley, Schaumburg’s landscape and sustainability planner, reviewed local zoning codes, streamlined the permit process (thereby reducing “some of the soft costs that are sometimes associated with going solar,” Dooley told Yale Climate Connections), and “created a resource guide that explains the fees, inspections, and permits required.”

The easing of the process so impressed Schaumburg residents that they began sharing news of the changes with others. Dooley, who called the growth in applications “rewarding,” hopes to see more citizens spreading the word among neighbours and friends.

“I think that’s really what helped to drive the success of solar in the village,” she told Yale Climate Connections.