Cook County has received a Bronze designation from the national SolSmartprogram for making it faster, easier, and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar. This designation recognizes Cook County for taking bold steps to encourage solar energy growth and remove obstacles to solar development.
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 150 cities, counties, and small towns have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016. As a SolSmart designee, Cook County is helping solar companies greatly reduce the cost of installations and pass those savings on to consumers. The actions our County has taken will help encourage solar companies to do business in the area, driving economic development and creating local jobs. This allows even more local homes and businesses to obtain affordable, clean, and reliable electricity through solar.
To receive designation, cities and counties make changes to their local processes to reduce the time and money it takes to install a solar energy system. This includes evaluating local permitting processes, as well as planning and zoning procedures. SolSmart designees also develop innovations in areas such as market development and finance. SolSmart uses objective criteria to award communities points based on the actions they take to reduce barriers to solar energy development. Communities that take sufficient action are designated either gold, silver, or bronze. As part of the SolSmart program, national experts provide no-cost technical assistance to help communities like Cook County achieve designation.