News & Announcements
Streamlined Processes Make it Easier to Go Solar, Encourage Economic Development
The City of Santa Fe is on a streak-- a green streak-- winning yet another accolade for its commitment to sustainable and energy efficient practices. Santa Fe is being recognized as a SolSmart Community for making it faster, easier, and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar. SolSmart is a national program recognizing cities, counties, and regional organizations that foster the development of mature local solar markets. It is led by The Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office.
Santa Fe joins more than 350 cities, counties, and small towns that have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016, including Las Cruces and Santa Fe County, which also received its SolSmart designation this year.
“At the heart of our commitment to sustainability is a transition to renewable energy,” said Mayor Webber. “To make that happen, we’re helping people get fast and easy permits for solar installation. We’re going solar as fast as we can.”
Residents and businesses wanting to install solar systems can now submit a permit application online at www.santafenm.gov/building_permits. The City of Santa Fe strives to review applications for small solar systems within three days, and all solar permit fees are only $40.
By combining a New Mexico tax credit passed this year with an existing federal tax credit, residents and businesses can save up to 36% of the cost of solar installation. The federal tax credit for solar panels will be reduced at the end of 2020, so now is the best time to install solar panels.
The actions the City has taken will help encourage solar companies to do business in the area, driving economic development and creating local jobs. The renewable energy market has seen tremendous job growth in the last decade, with solar industry jobs growing five times faster than job growth in the overall economy and the solar industry has fared well during the COVID pandemic. Solar manufacturing and installation can occur even with social distancing, and investors have seized on renewable energy projects as safe investments.
Making it easier to install solar in Santa Fe also helps the City accomplish its goals of transitioning to 50% renewable energy by 2025 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2040, established in the 2018 Sustainable Santa Fe 25-Year Plan. For more information about the City’s progress toward these sustainability goals, please visit www.santafenm.gov/ESD.
As part of the SolSmart program, a team of national experts provides no-cost technical assistance to help communities achieve designation. All municipalities, counties, and regional organizations are eligible to join the SolSmart program and receive this technical assistance. Interested communities can learn more at SolSmart.org.