Community Spotlight: Maricopa County, AZ
Solsmart Designation: BRonze
Maricopa County received the Bronze designation for removing obstacles to solar energy development, including creating an online permitting checklist, reviewing local zoning codes, allowing solar by-right accessory use in all major zones, and creating a streamlined permitting pathway for small PV systems.
Leading by Example
Maricopa County has reduced fees and streamlined its permitting processes for residential rooftop solar systems. The Planning and Development Department’s “Fast-Track” Permitting Program provides for same-day permitting for residential rooftop solar installations with next-day service for inspections. The county is currently averaging 10-15 rooftop PV permits a day.
Maricopa County has installed more than 3 MW of solar capacity into county projects, including constructing a 542 kW rooftop solar parking installation at its central administrative parking garage. Maricopa County amended its local building code and zoning ordinance to remove impediments to solar construction, including changing requirements regarding lot coverage and property setbacks to support solar.
Solar Industry Highlight
The Sempra Renewables Mesquite Solar complex, a utility-scale photovoltaic power plant, just completed its third phase in December 2016. The 150 MW expansion project is part of a multi-phase facility whose power supports the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, among others.
In Their Own Words
"Participating in the SolSmart program provides an opportunity for Maricopa County to access expert guidance to improve business opportunities for solar energy production. It also assists in getting the message out that a vibrant business climate for solar not only saves energy and helps the environment, but produces jobs and attracts new economic development to the county."
Maricopa County recognizes that it has the potential to be a leader in solar energy development. The county is one of the most viable regions in the nation for photovoltaic and concentrated solar energy generation. This potential has been recognized by both utility-scale energy developers and residential rooftop solar providers."