Lewisville received its bronze-level SolSmart designation earlier this month as a community that has made it easier to access solar panels.
SolSmart is a national Department of Energy program that recognizes communities for making solar power more accessible to residents and encouraging them to use it. The program is focused on reducing what are called “soft costs” — administrative costs that mean residents would have to pay to get through red tape instead of just for solar panels.
Assistant city manager of development services Claire Swann said the city was also recognized as a solar ready city, in part because of the 2015 residential ordinance that requires all new homes have a place for solar panels to go already built into the design.
Lewisville is the sixth city in the state and third city in the Metroplex to receive a SolSmart designation after Denton and Plano. The North Central Texas Council of Governments has headed up efforts in the area.
Sustainability manager Mendie White said part of the reason for Lewisville’s recognition was its streamlining of the process to get solar panels installed and outlining them in a single document of residential solar panel requirements. The document includes a step-by-step walkthrough and the application documents for acquiring your own solar panels.
The recognition comes weeks after president Donald Trump dealt a blow to solar panels nationally, imposing a 30 percent tariff on imported panels. White said that domestic suppliers are still ready to go.
“The goal of SolSmart is we’re wanting to remove barriers of solar installation for residents, so that’s not obviously an ideal situation,” she said. “But there are commercially produced solar supplies and panels that are available stateside as well, so it’s not necessarily impacting the entire market.”