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Introduction to the SolSmart Program

Solar energy is a carbon-free electricity source that is an essential part of any strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many communities are using it to meet climate change goals or renewable energy targets while creating more jobs. Homeowners, businesses, schools, and local governments are using solar energy to drastically reduce their utility costs. To address solar soft costs at the municipal and county levels, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) funds SolSmart, a program that provides designation and no-cost technical assistance to accelerate the development of local solar energy markets and reduce soft costs.  The program’s broad national reach is helping communities in all parts of the country make it faster, easier, and more affordable to go solar.

Please use the links below to view the solar resources in Camden County.

https://www.state.nj.us/dep/aqes/docs/sstguide.pdf

This is a guide to using the NJ Community Solar PV Siting Tool. The purpose of this tool is to find the most beneficial locations to use solar energy. The guide shows you how to use the tool’s many widgets and layers to get the most information possible before setting up a solar energy installation.

https://www.solsmart.org/

Solsmart is a program that is trying to make it easier for communities to use solar energy. SolSmart recognizes cities, counties, and regional organizations for making it faster, easier, and more affordable to go solar. Communities earn points and will receive rankings based on those points in order to achieve Solsmart certified status.

https://dvrpc.org/solar/

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission is trying to encourage the growth of solar energy. While getting solar energy can take a lot of time and money, local governments have the power to decrease the amount of money and the time that it takes to install. They show zoning on a small scale for three different places in PA to compare to. It explains how simple and easy it can be to get a solar permit.

https://www.solarenergylocal.com/states/new-jersey/

Solar energy local is looking at the amount of solar energy and radiation levels in New Jersey. You can also search for solar energy by town. It will tell you all the information that they have collected about your towns solar status. It also shows the best months to take advantage of solar energy.

https://www.nj.gov/dep/aqes/opea-solar.html

This website is the State of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection for air quality, energy, and sustainability. New Jersey is ranked #1 on a total installed solar PV capacity per square mile basis. The Solar Acts say by 2028 4% of the state’s energy should be solar. They are trying to make getting solar energy tools easier for the community. On the left-hand side, you can go through all the department’s initiatives.

https://www.seia.org/state-solar-policy/new-jersey-solar

SEIA is the Solar Energy Industry Association. This Website has statistics about New Jersey using solar energy. There is an interactive map of New Jersey that shows all of the solar energy installations using locations and names. There are also additional links within the website that give advice, facts, and policies when dealing with solar energy

http://njcleanenergy.com/renewable-energy/project-activity-reports/project-activity-reports

This website gives a solar activity report for the New Jersey’s Clean Energy Act.  There are charts to describe the solar pipeline projects and solar installations as of May 2019. On the left-hand side, there is a list of programs that New Jersey’s Clean Energy Acts does and information about what they are.

Solsmart Webinar: Best practices in solar planning and zoning

This webinar addresses best practices for including solar in land use plans and your community’s zoning ordinance. Learn how local governments can 1) Set solar development goals; 2) Ensure solar farm development creates agricultural, environmental, and water quality co-benefits; 3) Address “solar-ready” concepts in their zoning ordinances; 4) Capture benefits of solar development while minimizing risks; 5) Provide maximum siting options for rooftop and ground-mount solar while preserving a community’s character and historic resources; and 6) Include solar in local planning documents. This webinar is intended to train planning staff on best practices in planning and zoning for solar PV.

NJWebMap.state.us Maps

This is a link to the NJ solar resource map – click on “Maps” at the top and select “BES”. This link is a map of New Jersey. On the left-hand side, there is a list of different things that can be shown on the map. Click on the blue box next to the item that you would like to see and it should appear.

https://www.google.com/get/sunroof

Google Sunroof is another resource on solar installations in the region. Type in the address of the location that you want solar panels at.  It will then tell you how many hours of sunlight your location gets per year, the number of square feet that it has for panels, and the money you would save in 20 years.