Bellevue Deputy City Manager Kate Berens (left) and environmental planning manager Heidi Bedwell accept the SolSmart Bronze award on behalf of the organization. The honor recognizes cities who have worked to encourage solar energy use within the community. Photo courtesy of city of Bellevue

City of Bellevue wins SolSmart Bronze award

  • Thursday, October 19, 2017 3:52pm
  • News

The city of Bellevue has been awarded a bronze designation from the national SolSmart program for making it faster, easier and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar. The honor recognizes the city for taking bold steps to encourage solar energy growth and remove obstacles to solar development. For companies looking to expand, a SolSmart Bronze designation is a signal that Bellevue is “open for solar business.”

“Our goal has been to support solar energy by utilizing a simple, consistent solar permit process for residents and businesses,” said Heidi Bedwell, environmental planning manager for the city’s Development Services Department. “It’s been an ongoing process, but Bellevue has been able to help cut the cost of solar and make it a more viable clean energy option.”

To receive the designation, cities and counties make changes to their local processes to reduce the time and money it takes to install a solar energy system. This includes evaluating local permitting processes, as well as planning and zoning procedures. SolSmart designees also develop innovations in areas such as market development and finance.

SolSmart is led by The Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative. More than 100 cities, counties and small towns have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016.

SolSmart uses objective criteria to award communities points based on the actions they take to reduce barriers to solar energy development. Communities that take sufficient action are then recognized. As part of the SolSmart program, a team of national experts provides no-cost technical assistance to help communities achieve designation.

Bellevue’s SolSmart recognition builds on the city’s accomplishments in promoting solar by participating in the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative in 2012, earning recognition through the Evergreen State Solar Partnership, and collaborating with Sparks Northwest (formerly Northwest SEED) on two Solarize campaigns in 2014 and 2015, which resulted in the installation of 88 solar arrays in Bellevue.

Bellevue’s involvement in encouraging solar and other clean energy solutions is part of the Environmental Stewardship Initiative, through which the city coordinates and manages a range of programs aimed at protecting the environment.

To learn more, visit SolSmart.org.

More in News

Police arrest suspect in fraud ring | Bellevue Police Blotter

The following is a sample from the Bellevue Police Department’s Bellevue Beat… Continue reading

City seeks input on Bellevue Downtown Demonstration Bikeway project

The city of Bellevue is exploring ways to make downtown a safe,… Continue reading

Apply now for opening on Bellevue Planning Commission

Applications are due by Thursday, Nov. 30

Bellevue School Board approves 3 levies for February special election

If approved, the school district would collect $475 million over four years

Bellevue City Council adopts ordinances on parking, public camping and illegal waste dumping

On Monday night, the Bellevue City Council unanimously adopted three ordinances addressing… Continue reading

Puget Sound Energy’s Energize Eastside starts permitting process for south Bellevue segment

Richards Creek substation, transmission lines expected to be complete by summer 2018

Share a treasured item during Cultural Conversations in Bellevue Dec. 5

The next Cultural Conversations in Bellevue will focus on “Using a treasured… Continue reading

Bellevue Essentials to graduate new class Nov. 29

On Wednesday, Nov. 29, the city of Bellevue will graduate a new… Continue reading

Festive flutists to spread holiday joy in Bellevue on Dec. 3

Hundreds of lucky local shoppers and other community members “out and about”… Continue reading

Higher Leaf in Bellevue collecting household goods for homeless families

Even amidst a booming economy, soaring housing costs have contributed to a… Continue reading

Activists fear that Atlantic salmon that escape from fish farms can spread disease to native fish such as these pink salmon.
Conservationists: Why you should care about fish pens

Open water fish pens have long been criticized by conservation activists as… Continue reading

Bellevue realtors kick-off holiday season with toy drive

Weichert, Realtors - Pillar Northwest, in Bellevue, is kicking off the holiday… Continue reading