Mayors and officials from 25 cities have spent this week at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) 2nd Annual Solar America Cities meeting in San Antonio, Texas, discussing the future of solar power. The mayors met with solar industry leaders to discuss topics ranging from incorporating solar energy into city planning to public-private solar financing arrangements.
DOE began the Solar America Cities program two years ago to assist the 25 member cities financially and technically in their efforts to adopt solar energy. "We are now at a point where the program is yielding a lot of best practices, and cities are truly able to use the Solar America Cities network to learn from one another," said Solar America program director Tom Kimbis during the meeting, which was held March 30 to April 3.
Along with attending presentations from experts on topics including "Meeting Solar Demands," "Engaging Communities on Solar Energy Programs" and "Green Jobs Training," the mayors discussed programs in their own cities. Streamlining the permitting process for solar projects was a particularly popular subject. "One of the most exciting things we have done is to streamline our permitting process," San Jose, Calif., Solar America City team leader Jessie Denver said in a statement. "We now have over-the — counter permits; inspections available by appointment and inspections that can be done within two hours."