On February 2, MARC’s Solar Ready program received a Solar Advocacy Award from the Missouri Solar Energy Industry Association (MOSEIA) at the organization’s annual conference held in Kansas City, Mo. The award is in recognition of MARC’s efforts to facilitate solar installations in the region.
In 2011, MARC was one of 22 teams across the country to receive a Rooftop Solar Challenge I (RSCI) award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The goal of RSCI was to reduce non-hardware costs associated with solar photovoltaic (PV) installation. While the cost of PV panels has decreased rapidly in recent years, soft costs relating to permitting, processing, fees and other installation costs have remained relatively high. In 2012, MARC staff created Solar Ready KC and worked with five local governments — Kansas City, Mo., Lee’s Summit, Mo., Clay County, Mo., Olathe, Kan., and Johnson County, Kan. — to streamline the process of installing solar PV through soft cost reduction measures, making it simpler, faster and less expensive to install solar at a home or business.
In 2013, as a Rooftop Solar Challenge II (RSCII) recipient, MARC was one of eight teams selected by the DOE to continue working on solar soft cost reduction measures. MARC has brought in nine other regional planning councils to learn from the best management practices staff developed during RSCI and expand our model in other regions. Additionally, MARC is expanding its partnership locally by recruiting other local jurisdictions to work on soft cost reductions. After only three months, the national team (known as Solar Ready II) has recruited 40 jurisdictions to examine and make changes to their laws and practices that impact solar soft costs.
As electricity prices continue to rise across the country, the interest in solar will only grow. Nationwide, installations in 2013 were up 27 percent from 2012. Through both Rooftop Solar Challenge awards, MARC’s work has and continues to make it easier to install solar PV creating clean, local energy in the Kansas City region and beyond.