Lebanon is the first municipality in New Hampshire, and only the second in northern New England, to receive a Bronze designation from the U.S. Department of Energy’s SolSmart program. This designation recognizes Lebanon for taking steps to encourage solar energy and remove obstacles to solar development. A SolSmart Bronze designation is a signal that Lebanon is “open for solar business” and actively supporting renewable energy.
SolSmart is led by The Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. More than 200 cities, counties, and towns have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016. Burlington, VT is the only other municipality to receive SolSmart designation in Northern New England.
“The City of Lebanon has big plans to rapidly transition to renewable energy,” said City Manager Shaun Mulholland. “We are delighted to receive the Bronze award and expect to quickly bump it up to Silver and Gold. Kudos go to the Planning Office and the Lebanon Energy Advisory Committee for the years’ worth of groundwork that they have laid.”
SolSmart uses objective criteria to award communities points based on the actions taken to reduce barriers to solar energy development. The Bronze SolSmart award recognizes Lebanon for helping solar companies to greatly reduce the cost of installations, allowing them to pass those savings on to consumers. This includes Lebanon’s work streamlining the solar permitting process, providing appropriate training for inspectors and fire and safety personnel on the installation and use of solar PV systems, and ensuring that accessory and non-accessory solar installations are allowed in all zoning districts. The actions Lebanon has taken will encourage solar companies to do business in the area, driving economic development and creating local jobs while allowing homeowners and businesses to obtain affordable, clean, and reliable solar electricity and building local energy resilience.
As part of the SolSmart program, Lebanon received expert technical assistance from a team of national experts to help advance solar adoption in the City, in particular the Cadmus Group of Boston. Other interested communities can learn more at SolSmart.org.