The Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) partnered with the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC), Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), Meister Consultants Group, Inc., and the Council of State Governments on the US Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative Rooftop Solar Challenge (RSCII). This initiative seeks to:
- Reduce costs and improve efficiency of solar permitting process through regulatory reform,
- Increase access to low cost financing options,
- Increase awareness and boost solar adoption and investment. To that end, OKI has engaged a variety of local governments, utilities, businesses, and organizations to guide this initiative and develop a series of solar best management practices (BMPs) for consideration by communities in the OKI region.
In recent years, the solar industry has been a rapidly growing market. Rooftop solar PV installations can have positive impacts on the local economy and job market, provide a stable source of energy immune to traditional energy price volatility, increase property values, reduce electricity costs for homes, businesses, and governments, and augment utility energy needs during peak hours.
Local communities can play a critical role in reducing these soft costs by streamlining and standardizing the permitting process and by providing accessible information to the public. Reducing upfront costs of solar projects can in turn improve the return on investment of the projects and help boost the market competitiveness of solar energy. BMPs have been developed to both assist local governments that may be experiencing increases in rooftop solar system installations, and provide tools for those that choose to proactively promote rooftop solar in their communities.