Richmond top-rated for solar access, advances clean energy in the region
The City of Richmond was recently recognized as a SolSmart GOLD community for its efforts to make it faster, easier and less expensive for Richmonders to put solar on their homes and businesses.
The city’s solar power initiative is championed by the Office of Sustainability, in furtherance of RVAgreen 2050, the City's equity-centered climate action and resilience initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 45% by 2030, achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and help the community adapt to Richmond's climate impacts of extreme heat, precipitation and flooding.
The city received the GOLD designation after the Office of Sustainability worked with the Permits & Inspections Division of the Planning Department to verify that permits for small residential rooftop solar PV systems can be processed in three days.
Richmond is one of only four localities in Virginia that have received the GOLD level designation from SolSmart, a national program that assists and recognizes localities that foster the growth of strong solar markets in their communities by reducing barriers to going solar.
In 2018, Richmond received a SILVER designation for making changes to become more solar friendly, including clarifying solar related zoning issues and creating a one-stop resource to make it easier and quicker for residents to find information on solar related permits. The city was also a Special Recognition Award winner in Inspections for going above and beyond and earning at least 60% of the total points available in at least one of the eight SolSmart categories.
The city's efforts to advance clean energy and support its RVAgreen 2050 initiative also include partnering with Henrico County and local non-profit Viridiant in the SolarizeRVA program to offer free one-stop, unbiased guidance for Richmond area residents to explore their solar and clean energy options and understand the costs and benefits of solar power systems for their homes.
Local non-profit Viridiant leads the effort to engage residents through community events, webinars, digital and direct engagement in order to provide information and resources about the value, technology and logistics of home solar arrays to ensure that potential solar adopters are fully equipped to make smart decisions for their households. To maximize the value and savings of solar energy, Viridiant also helps residents implement energy efficient strategies in their homes through home energy audits and community education events.
Over the long term, SolarizeRVA aims to bring 1,000 solar roofs to the Richmond region, reduce dependency on nonrenewable resources and provide real savings for area residents. Solar energy saves money and reduces energy dependency, and the switch is more appealing than ever, as the federal tax credit of 26% is set to expire at the end of 2022.
Free SolarizeRVA informational webinars for residents are hosted monthly. The next virtual events are June 24 at 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. Learn more here.
Learn more about SolarizeRVA at or by contacting Andrew Grigsby, Viridiant Energy Services Director, at .
Find Richmond's online solar resources at https://www.rva.gov/sustainability/initiatives.
Learn more about Richmond's SolSmart designation and SolSmart at www.solsmart.org/communities/richmond-va.