PRESS RELEASE: Cincinnati Joins National Program to Reduce Solar Energy Costs

Cincinnati to receive no-cost technical assistance making solar more affordable and accessible

WASHINGTON, DC, July 20, 2016— Cincinnati, Ohio has joined an elite cohort of nearly 30 cities and counties nationwide as a founding participant in SolSmart, a national program to encourage solar energy development locally.

Cincinnati is among the nation’s first participants in the SolSmart program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative. SolSmart is providing the community no-cost technical assistance to reduce barriers to solar energy growth in Cincinnati and make solar more affordable for homes and businesses. The goal is for Cincinnati to soon receive a national SolSmart designation at the level of Bronze, Silver, or Gold, showing the community has taken key steps to encourage solar energy development.

Ohio is home to 4,811 solar jobs, including 1,274 solar jobs in the Cincinnati metro area, according to The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census 2015.

Cincinnati has completed 24 solar installations on public facilities and offers residents discounts on solar installations through its Solarize Cincy program. This program allows residents to receive discounts off solar installations by leveraging their purchasing power with other residents.

“Cincinnati has invested in solar,” said Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black. “Many of our public and private buildings have it and our residents want to install it. We need to make sure the installation process is as smooth as possible to further reduce barriers for residents. Our participation in the SolSmart program will allow us to cut costs, encourage solar energy growth, and help make sure that many of these new solar jobs are here in Cincinnati.”

Cincinnati has partnered on the SolSmart project with the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance.

“We are proud to be working with the City on this effort to increase investment in solar and we encourage other jurisdictions throughout Greater Cincinnati to join us,” said Andy Holzhauser, CEO of the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance.

To receive a SolSmart designation, communities must take action to reduce solar “soft costs,” which are non-hardware costs that can increase the time and money it takes to install a solar energy system. Examples of soft costs include planning and zoning; permitting, interconnection, and inspection; financing; customer acquisition; and installation labor. Reducing these costs will lead to savings that are passed on to consumers.

Cincinnati is among nearly 30 communities nationwide that are “Early Adopters” in the SolSmart program. SolSmart is administered by a team of national experts led by the International City/County Management Association and The Solar Foundation.

“The role of local governments in building stronger and more resilient communities has never been greater,” said ICMA Executive Director Robert J. O’Neill, Jr. “Cities, towns, and counties consume a large portion of the nation’s electricity, which is why they can also have a significant impact on the financial, environmental, and economic health of the country by adopting solar energy technologies. The SolSmart program will recognize that impact.”

“We are excited to work with local governments to reduce costs and other barriers to solar energy development,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director of The Solar Foundation. “We hope many more communities across the nation will be encouraged to pursue a SolSmart designation and take advantage of the no-cost technical assistance available.”

SolSmart announced the finalized criteria for its solar designation program on April 27, 2016. Other communities can apply to join the SolSmart program and find more information at solsmart.org.

About SolSmart

SolSmart is a national designation and technical assistance program that recognizes leading solar communities and empowers additional communities to expand their local solar markets. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, SolSmart strives to cut red tape, drive greater solar deployment, and make it possible for even more American homes and businesses to access solar energy to meet their electricity needs. Learn more at www.solsmart.org

About ICMA

ICMA, the International City/County Management Association, advances professional local government management worldwide. Its mission is to create excellence in local governance by developing and advancing professional management to create sustainable communities that improve lives worldwide. The management decisions made by ICMA’s members affect millions of individuals living in thousands of communities, from small villages and towns to large metropolitan areas.

About The Solar Foundation

An independent nonprofit founded in 1977, the purpose of The Solar Foundation (TSF) is to increase understanding of solar energy through strategic research and education that transforms markets. While solar energy is a key part of our energy future, TSF is committed to excellence in its aim to help people fairly and objectively gauge the value of the solar industry worldwide.

About the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance is a nonprofit economic development agency that promotes investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky communities by providing education, project management, and innovative financing solutions, completing over $45M in projects to date. For more information, go to http://www.greatercea.org/ or contact us at (513) 621-4232.