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Solarize Westchester and Land Use Planning for Solar Energy
On September 4th, two great events were hosted at the Judicial Institute at Pace Law School regarding Solar Energy.
The morning session introduced participants, comprised of local government officials, businesses owners, and not-for-profits organizations, to Solarize Westchester. Part of New York State’s $1 billion investment in solar energy through the NY-Sun program, Solarize Westchester is designed to drive down the costs of solar installations to make Westchester County New York State’s solar leader – and to maximize the benefits of clean energy, cost savings and local jobs that solar energy offers. The initiative is a partnership of the Energy Improvement Corporation, Abundant Efficiency, Croton Energy Group, Pace Law School’s Land Use Law Center, SmartPower and Sustainable Westchester. The morning session’s first panel announced how Solarize Westchester will work with eight municipalities to select a qualified solar installer through a competitive bidding process, who will partner with each community to publicize opportunities for residents and business to generate their own solar energy. Interested communities in Westchester County may apply to participate in the campaign through October 16, 2014. Presentations also focused on how the Solarize Westchester program will be working with municipalities to eliminate regulatory barriers to solar installation and adopt the New York State Unified Solar Permit, a streamlined permitting process.
In the afternoon, participants joined Pace Land Use Law Center (LULC), a member of NYSERDA's NY-Sun PV Trainers Network, at an in-depth policy workshop to discuss strategies for developing a policy and planning framework that supports a growing solar market. Participants learned about community engagement techniques to support solar policies, the legal process in plan making, and nationally accepted best practices and common features found in comprehensive and other local plans. Click here for the Workshop PowerPoint. This session also provided an overview of the NY-Sun PV Trainers Network, which is led by a consortium of partners to offer no and low cost training and technical assistance across New York State. The PV Trainers Network is part of NY-Sun, Governor Cuomo’s initiative to greatly increase the amount of installed solar capacity throughout the state. Through education, training, and technical assistance, the Network helps local governments and stakeholders identify opportunities, mitigate barriers, and create programs that drive development of solar electric (photovoltaic or PV) markets in communities across New York State. With funding from NYSERDA, Meister Consultants Group has partnered with Entech Engineering, the City University of New York (CUNY), Pace Land Use Law Center (LULC) and a network of academic institutions to implement the Network. For more information, please visit https://training.ny-sun.ny.gov or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.