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Renewables

PACE - Renewable Energy with solar panels

Background

Leading scientists, including renowned Stanford University professor Mark Z. Jacobson, make a clear case that it is possible to power society entirely from the wind, water and sun. Cities and towns play a key role in driving the adoption of clean, renewable energy. Yet, most have only begun to tap the potential of these sources. Local governments can set the pace for growth of renewable energy through effective public policy and community engagement, reaping benefits for the environment, public health, grid resilience, residents and businesses.

This web page focuses on solar photovoltaic (PV) energy, the overwhelmingly predominant source of renewable energy in the state. As we gain more experience in wind, both on- and offshore, and hydro, we look forward to including these resources here as well.

Getting Started

Promoting solar energy in your community can have a significant impact by increasing awareness and removing obstacles. There is a wealth of approaches, initiatives, policies and programs available to increase adoption of solar by residents, businesses and municipalities. These include:

  • Setting ambitious town goals for solar,
  • Regulations, ordinances and policies at the town level,
  • Leading by example at the municipal level,
  • Community shared solar projects on town properties, especially brownfields,
  • Information and promotional campaigns (e.g., “Solarize”),
  • When it becomes possible, adopt Community Choice Aggregation

Checklist

  • If you haven’t already done so, create or update your town’s Energy Plan [link to Energy Plan page] to include ambitious goals for adoption of solar. PACE can help establish a goal for your town based on land area, roof area, and potential for large projects.
  • Determine your starting point. See below for resources to determine how many solar installations your town already has.
  • Review and streamline your town’s zoning and permitting processes regarding solar. (Check your town’s ranking using the CT Municipal Solar Scorecard, referenced in the Resources section below.)
  • Adopt a solar policy for new construction (e.g., solar-ready). Promote solar access rights of residents (i.e., the right to put a solar array on the roof).
  • Initiate solar projects on town buildings, land, parking lots and schools. (Create a schedule of upcoming roof and parking lot replacements to anticipate favorable times for solar.)
  • Initiate Community Shared Solar projects on town properties. Shared solar gives access to solar energy to residents unable to put it on their own roof. Consider, in particular, brownfield sites (e.g., a landfill) as an excellent location for shared solar.
  • Carry our information campaigns for residents and businesses, showing demonstration projects and sharing information on financing and incentives.
  • See the Community Choice Aggregation page of this website to learn what CCA can mean for your town and how you can advance its cause in the state.

Resources

Our Partners