City of South Bend honored with solar energy award

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The City of South Bend has received a Gold designation from the SolSmart program for their efforts in making it easier, faster, and more affordable for houses and businesses in the area to use solar energy.

“I’m proud of our zoning and planning team for streamlining the deployment of solar energy in our city,” said Mayor James Mueller. “South Bend will continue to take steps to generate solar jobs locally and realize the opportunities within a growing clean energy economy.”

South Bend is now designated as a “solar-friendly, solar-ready” community by the national SolSmart program, which provides no-cost technical assistance to help participating communities achieve designation. The Gold designation is the highest level from the program.

South Bend is among the nearly 400 municipalities and counties nationwide who have reached this milestone, including the cities of Goshen, Plymouth, and Nappanee, and St. Joseph, Elkhart, and Marshall Counties.

SolSmart uses objective criteria to award communities based on actions these communities take to break down barriers to solar energy development.

Some steps the city took to become solar-friendly include:

  • Training code enforcement officials and firefighters
  • Reviewing internal processes like inspections and permits
  • Including clarifying language in the new zoning ordinance
  • Providing education workshops
  • Installing solar on three city buildings

South Bend partnered with the Michiana Area Council of Governments on Solarize programs in 2017 and 2019 to educate residents and facilitate a group-buy program. Solarize brought 19 new solar homes to South Bend and 115 solar homes to the region overall.

With this Gold designation, South Bend is now “open for solar business,” inviting interested companies to expand their businesses to the city.

For more information on how to go solar in South Bend, click here.

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