Lafayette getting help from SolSmart adviser

LAFAYETTE — The city of Lafayette is one of 11 communities nationwide that will receive services from a SolSmart adviser to address barriers to solar energy and foster the growth of local solar markets.

SolSmart is a new national designation program, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative through the Solar Powering America by Recognizing Communities initiative.

The adviser is being funded by The Solar Foundation, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., that wants to accelerate the use of solar power.

Municipalities, counties and regional organizations nationwide applied to host an adviser for up to six months through a competitive process. Communities were selected based on their potential to benefit from the technical assistance the advisers will provide.

An adviser will assist the city of Lafayette in its efforts to reduce soft costs associated with solar installations, making solar more affordable for residents. Research shows that up to 64 percent of solar system expenses can be associated with soft costs such as planning and zoning, permitting, interconnection and inspection, installation labor, and financing, according to a city statement.

“Lafayette is committed to implementing best practices in local policy, permitting, and other areas to reduce the soft costs of solar photovoltaic systems,” said Antoinette Maes, a consultant for the Lafayette Energy Sustainability Advisory Committee.