The Energy Office works to address solar soft costs like permit processes, provides information on solar energy, and evaluates solar opportunities in municipal buildings.
In 2008, Philadelphia was named a Solar America City by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Through this effort, the City of Philadelphia worked to advance the adoption of solar energy technologies by removing regulatory barriers and reducing the soft costs (such as permitting fees) of solar development. With funding from this project, the Office of Sustainability (OOS) worked with industry stakeholders to develop a guidebook outlining a simplified permitting process for new projects.
In 2012, OOS worked with City Council to pass legislation that significantly reduced the cost of solar permitting. The City continues to work with solar developers and PECO to ensure that existing policies and processes are up-to-date.
In fall 2016, the City achieved SolSmart Bronze designation and is working towards achieving Gold designation. The U.S. Department of Energy’s SolSmart program is a national recognition and a no-cost technical assistance program for local governments designed to drive greater solar deployment.
The Energy Office also works with partner organizations and local solar companies. This collaboration helps us understand the challenges of implementing large-scale market adoption of solar energy in Philadelphia. It also helps ensure the City is responding effectively to the needs of the industry. The office uses feedback from stakeholder sessions to find opportunities to enhance or reform City services.