Langley made its first official step toward achieving a SolSmart designation when the Langley City Council approved a work plan at its regular monthly meeting on Monday night.
SolSmart is a program of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, which helps the city make it “faster, cheaper and easier to go solar,” according to a city document. It also provides technical assistance to local government to reduce barriers with solar energy growth at no cost.
Langley is one of five cities in Puget Sound region applying for SolSmart designation. Spark Northwest, a Seattle-based non-profit organization, is providing support and bandwidth for the designation effort.
Langley resident Linda Irvine, program director for Spark Northwest, said the organization wants to help communities across the Pacific Northwest create more clean energy and become more solar friendly. She also said Langley can become the northernmost community in the lower 48 states with a SolSmart designation.
“We can get ourselves on the map and have a little fun with it,” Irvine said.
SolSmart’s “menu of actions” will help the city clarify permitting, planning, zoning and development issues to “support a future in which we meet more of our energy needs locally, with clean, renewable solar energy,” the document said.
The city will participate in a series of steps required for the designation, including posting information about solar energy and the permit process on the city’s website, provide links to educational training for city staff, firefighters and citizens, and reviewing the city’s current municipal code and comprehensive plan for barriers against solar energy.