The Village of Skokie received a Gold designation from the national SolSmart program for encouraging the growth of clean, affordable solar energy at the local level.
As a SolSmart Gold designee, Skokie has adopted nationally recognized best practices to advance solar market growth. The Village worked with SolSmart's no-cost technical assistance team to increase local knowledge of solar energy so the entire community can benefit.
SolSmart is led by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. Nearly 500 cities, towns, counties, and regional organizations have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016.
“Achieving SolSmart Gold designation is a tremendous achievement and shines a light on the Village’s commitment to environmental sustainability,” said Mayor George Van Dusen. “Making it easier, faster and more affordable for community members to go solar supports the Village’s Environmental Sustainability Plan goal of increasing on-site renewable energy use throughout Skokie while reducing greenhouse gas emissions community-wide by 35 percent by 2030.”
To achieve SolSmart Gold designation, Skokie has demonstrated a turnaround time for residential solar permits of three days or less and codified its zoning language to ensure there are no unnecessary barriers to solar energy use. The Village also established a Solar Energy web page, providing community members with helpful resources to streamline their transition to solar, including a solar panel checklist and requirements, financing options and incentives, certified contractors, and more. Through 2022, the Village has issued more than 400 building permits for solar energy installation.
Skokie is also a member of the North Shore Electricity Aggregation Consortium, which has partnered with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus to launch the state’s largest community solar program, providing residents a guaranteed savings and easy access to community solar farms in Illinois.
Local governments achieve Solsmart designation by meeting established criteria that are based on national best practices for building solar-friendly communities. The SolSmart team of experts offers no-cost technical assistance and resources to help communities put these practices into action. Those that meet the criteria are designated SolSmart Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Bronze.
Skokie first achieved SolSmart Bronze designation in 2020, and has now advanced to Gold designation by achieving additional SolSmart criteria.
SolSmart designees are now in 43 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Any city, town, county, and regional organization is eligible to join the program. Interested communities can learn more at SolSmart.org.
For more information about solar energy in Skokie, visit skokie.org/1336/Solar-Energy.