Town of Warwick receives SolSmart Gold designation

The goal of this U.S. Department of Energy program is to make it faster, easier and cheaper to go solar

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  • Photo by Roger Gavan Town of Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton points to some of the solar energy improvements at the Town Hall.

— The Town of Warwick and New York City now have something in common.

On Nov. 30, Warwick joined New York City as one of the only two communities in New York State to receive the SolSmart Gold designation for removing obstacles to solar energy development.

SolSmart Gold, the highest designation, includes creating an online permitting checklist, reviewing local zoning codes, allowing solar by-right accessory use, cross-training inspection and permitting staff on solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, and providing a streamlined permitting pathway for small PV systems.

The most common type of home solar power system features PV panels that convert sunlight into electricity.

Permitting process done within three daysIn addition, the town received recognition for reviewing the permitting process and ensuring processing time is under three days, training safety staff on solar PV and developing a regular communication schedule to solicit recommendations from the solar installer community regarding procedural changes.

Program seeks to be an economic engineTo achieve the SolSmart Gold designation requiring greater than 200 points, the town was scored on permitting, inspection, solar rights and community engagement. Warwick received 485 points.

The SolSmart program, an initiative of the U. S. Department of Energy, is designed to help local governments bring new business to their community, promote economic growth and foster the creation of new jobs.

The goal is to make it faster, easier and cheaper to go solar.

'A great place to do business'"The SolSmart Gold designation recognizes that the Town of Warwick is a great place for solar companies to do business," said Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton. "Working with David Katz, a solar ombudsman with Sustainable CUNY (City University of New York), the town has demonstrated that once again we are a leader in the Hudson Valley in the field of sustainable energy."

- Roger Gavan

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