Planning for Solar Development in the Future Energy Jobs Bill Era

APA Illinois Chapter


Friday, September 15, 2017
10:45 a.m. - noon CDT

CM | 1.25

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The passage of the Future Energy Jobs Bill is projected to spur rapid solar development within Illinois over the next decade. The Bill’s update of the State’s Renewable Portfolio Standard and its solar-specific requirements are expected to drive growth in the solar industry statewide. Solar installations have the potential to proliferate in all types of communities – from urban centers to agriculturally focused rural areas. As solar development grows within Illinois, planners need to understand how best to incorporate it into their communities.


Solar development is no different than other types of residential, commercial, or industrial development. As such, planners must take thoughtful and logical approaches to integrate solar development into their communities. Representatives from SolSmart, a national solar designation and technical assistance program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, and allied organizations will help to facilitate this through a panel consisting of:

• A SolSmart representative to moderate the panel and provide brief remarks about the program

• A panelist who has worked on a municipal planning staff/commission

• A panelist who has worked on local planning issues with many communities throughout Illinois

• A panelist who has experience with solar development


The panel will discuss how planners can best engage residents and businesses in conversations on solar energy. Panelists will focus on solar energy as a local resource that is tied to local economic benefits and growth. The panel will also present best-practice considerations for incorporating solar into local ordinances and planning documents, as well as ways to encourage solar through development regulations.


To ensure that planners have access to resources beyond the scope of the panel, the SolSmart representative will provide a brief overview of the program and the no-cost technical assistance opportunities it provides to local governments, specifically planning departments.


James Schroll

Confirmed Speaker

James Schroll is a Project Manager for The Solar Foundation’s SolSmart program. Prior to joining The Solar Foundation, he worked for both the Office of Government Relations at the Corporation for National and Community Service and the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Education and Labor. The Arlington ... Read More

Megan Day, AICP

Confirmed Speaker

Manage the Cities Leading through Energy Analysis and Planning (Cities-Leap) project, which provides energy data and analysis for more than 23,400 cities to support clean energy planning. Conduct and publish original research on the intersections between city policy and planning and renewable energy deployment. Serve as a subject matter ... Read More

Mark Pruitt

Confirmed Speaker

Principal at Illinois Community Choice Aggregation Network The Power Bureau University of Illinois at Chicago Specialties: Government procurement (federal, state and local), RFP and negotiated contract processes, economic and finance modeling Read More

Brian Ross, AICP

Confirmed Speaker

Brian Ross, AICP, LEED GA, with the Great Plains Institute for Sustainable Development, has over 25 years of experience working with local, regional, and state governments on sustainable development efforts addressing energy, land use, transportation, water, and natural resources. Brian leads the Institute’s efforts to accelerate the development of ... Read More

Contact Info

Trevor Dick,