When I went to Santa Rosa City Hall today to pick up my “Solar PV Rooftop Installation” permit, a plaque placed at the entrance caught my eye. It seems that Santa Rosa is one of 25 cities in the US that’s participating in the Department of Energy’s Solar America Communities project!
The DoE is coordinating with leaders at a local level to encourage the adoption of renewable solar energy across the country. Many of the 25 cities are much larger (most have NFL or NBA teams) but Santa Rosa and Sonoma County are doing their part to lead the way. According to the website, the city was placed at #5 in the nation’s top ten green cities in National Geographic’s Green Guide 2006.
To help encourage photovoltaic installations, the city has streamlined the permitting process and conducted special training for building inspectors to familiarize them with the technologies and applicable building codes. They’ve also established a Clean Energy Advocate to help homeowners with conservation measures including Solar PV and Solar hot water systems. The County of Sonoma has set up a special development fund to help homeowners make their homes more energy efficient.
Hopefully this program will spread to more cities across the country!