Lake County, CO

Lake County, CO

This webpage has been created to help improve local solar market conditions and share the latest industry information to residents and stakeholders in Lake County.  Below you will find key solar market indicators and essential resources for residents, businesses, solar industry and government officials. There is also a direct link to the County's interactive policy roadmap designed to increase local solar installations by making it easier and more cost-effective to ‘go solar’.

Lake County is in a high altitude region of Central Colorado and contains the highest natural point in the Rocky Mountains.  The County is situated in an excellent area for solar due its above average solar energy resource.

Community Profile

7,310 population
30% renewables by 2020
377 square miles

Residential Solar Potential

Upgrade to LEADER plan to display your community's solar potential.

Roadmap

The ASTI team has worked in close coordination with the County to develop a customized, interactive solar roadmap containing guidance on how to transform the local solar market. Each recommendation in the roadmap is supported with relevant reports, case studies, examples, and templates to support local and regional implementation efforts.

These roadmap goals are derived from attributes of successful solar communities nationwide, along with input from industry experts. Each goal represents a step toward making solar easier and more cost effective for all residents within the county. Your specific roadmap has been customized using the attributes that are relevant at the county-level in your area.

Expand each focus area below to show its related goals, and click the 'Take Action' button to access the relevant resources designed to help you achieve these goals.

showPermitting Process

Current Progress:
4 of 13 goals achieved
31%23%
Planned

[P1] Use a Standard Permit Application Form Specific to PV Systems(18)

No standard form for PV

Standard permit form for PV is in the process of being adopted.

Adopt a standard application form for qualifying projects <10kW.

[P2] Make Permit Application Form Available Online(176)

General application permit is online, no solar-specific form currently used

New form being considered

If standard PV permit application adopted (per P1), make the form available online. Suggested URL is http://www.lakecountyco.com/buildinglanduse/node/4

[P3] Allow Electronic Submittal of Application Form(87)

No electronic submittal

For simple, qualifying systems using the standard application form (if adopted per P1), allow email submittal of application.

[P4] Require only 1 Permit Application Submittal(164)

1 submittal

Single permit application submittal is available for residents and installers.

County currently at market best practice

[P5] Post Permit and Inspection Process Information and Fee Schedules Online(80)

General process, fees, and inspection information online, but not PV specific

County is exploring additional content for website

Post information on the solar permitting and inspection process online in an easily accessible location. This should include the process flow, timelines, fees, point of contact, and any other pertinent information.

[P6] Streamline Permit Processing Time and Allow Expedited Process for Qualifying Projects(75)

2 to 4 weeks and no OTC Process

Consider an expedited or over-the-counter permit approval process for qualifying PV projects using a standard application form (see goal P1). For all projects, issue or deny permit within 3 business days of submittal for residential and within 5 business days for commercial.

[P7] Base Residential Permit Fee on Actual Cost to Administer(85)

Valuation based, fee normally quite reasonable

Permit fee for residential PV projects is valuation-based.

Move to flat fee <$250, base fee on cost recovery, or take electrical components out of valuation calculation since this is permitted through DORA.

[P8] Base Commercial Permit Fee on Actual Cost to Administer(55)

Valuation based, fee normally quite reasonable

Permit fee for commpercial PV projects is valuation based.

Move to flat fee <$500, base fee on cost recovery, or take electrical components out of valuation calculation since this is permitted through DORA.

[P9] Minimize Inspection Turnaround Time(147)

< 2 business days

Inspection is performed within 48 hours of request.

County currently at market best practice

[P10] Offer Convenient Inspection Scheduling(94)

TBD

Recommend appointment window of AM or PM is provided AND/OR a real time update at least 1 hr prior to arrival is provided so contractor is given notice when inspector is soon to arrive.

[P11] Require only 1 Inspection Visit(82)

One or two permit inspections

For ground mount footing inspection, installer can request the inspection after racking install is complete but does not have to halt work and wait for inspection; module placement can commence.

[P12] Adopt an Inspection Checklist(21)

No inspection checklist

Consider utilizing a standard PV inspection checklist and making it available online. This can serve as an informational resource for installers and as a guide for field inspectors. See attached resources for sample inspection guidelines document.

[P14] Understand New Solar-Specific Building, Electrical, and Fire Codes(82)

Currently on 2006 ICC and 2006 IFC codes

Be aware of and consider accepting new solar standards from most recent code cycles

showPlanning & Zoning

Current Progress:
1 of 6 goals achieved
17%16%
Planned

[Z2] Promote Solar Ready Construction via Ordinances or Building Codes(15)

No initial standard in place

Explore creation of municipal ordinances which require new homes and buildings to be built solar-ready

[Z3] Require Solar on New Construction(4)

No initial standard in place

Explore implementing solar mandates for new construction for all buildings or a segment of the new building stock

[Z4] Incorporate Solar Priorities into Comprehensive or Energy Action Plans(66)

Solar access addressed in general plan and subdivision regs

Include solar development goals in long term planning documents.

[Z5] Update Zoning Standards and Review for Solar Installations(92)

PV technically requires conditional use permit on all structures

Work underway on new solar use type and associated design standards

Consider adoption of zoning codes that have solar specific guidance. Options include adding solar as a new land use type in Table 5.1. Consider recent updates in Garfield County (see resources), where solar systems designed for on site consumption are allowed by right, and those designed to sell power require a conditional use permit. Consider adoption of solar specific design guidelines for planning department design review of PV systems. The resources herein designed for historic districts will be a good guideline to follow for the scenic byway through town.

[Z6] Update Zoning Standards and Review for Solar Installations - Historic and Viewshed Areas(26)

PV technically requires conditional use permit on all structures

Work underway on new solar use type and associated design standards

Ensure the zoning codes and ordinances that govern solar installations in aesthetically sensitive areas do not adversely affect property owners' ability to install solar. Allow staff members to review and approve applications when possible rather than requiring committee or planning commission review.

[Z7] Limit Impact of Restrictive Private Covenants(81)

No ordinances creating a barrier to solar

The County does not have ordinances that create a barrier to solar.

None, goal achieved!

showFinancing Options

Current Progress:
1 of 3 goals achieved
33%34%
Planned

[F5a] Explore Implementation of Local PACE Financing Pilot Program (73)

No PACE program in place currently

Establish a working group to evaluate the potential of a PACE financing program for clean energy upgrades in your jurisdiction based on national examples by local municipalities.

[F6] Encourage Local Financial Stakeholders to Establish New Solar Loan Programs(63)

Minimal awareness of finance options now

C4 website hosts some info, though more could be provided on finance and loan programs

Drawing on the finance resources provided by the SSTI team, and adding any additional finance options available locally, help to disseminate this information within the County to increase awareness and understanding by residents, regional stakeholders and installers. This could be accomplished through the County website, HC3 website, periodic communications such as the newsletter, or in person via existing meetings/networks.

[F7] Promote Availability of Existing Solar Finance Options and Evaluation Tools(38)

Minimal awareness of these tools now

Cloud City Conservation Center website now hosts solar info for Lake County residents

County currently at best practice

showSolar Market Development

Current Progress:
2 of 6 goals achieved
33%17%
Planned

[M1] Support Aggregate Procurement Program for Residential Sector(40)

Lake County Solar Garden in exploration stages

Cloud City Conservation Center working with County to explore solarize program

Support the creation of a working group of community leaders and funding providers. This group would evaluate options and determine the most viable approach for aggregating residential solar based on best practices to date. As a parallel effort for those individuals that are renters or who can not go solar on their own homes, encourage and support their participation in the Lake County Solar Garden program being developed under the Xcel incentive program.

[M2] Support Aggregate Procurement Program for Commercial Sector(6)

Lake County Solar Garden in exploration stages

Support the creation of a working group of businesses and property owners to aggregate their facilities and buying power for solar evaluation and procurement to decrease energy costs while demonstrating their leadership. As a parallel effort for those businesses that can not support solar on their own facilities, encourage and support their participation in the Lake County Solar Garden program being developed under the Xcel incentive program.

[M3] Explore Implementation of Collaborative Procurement Program for Municipal Facilities and Schools(38)

Previous aggregated solar purchase at four County sites

The County has installed solar PV at their facilties.

Consider a second collaborative effort with agencies across the County to aggregate government facilities for solar evaluation and procurement to demonstrate leadership while improving the economy, environment and energy costs. As a parallel effort for those government facilities that are not feasible for solar, encourage and support their participation in the Lake County Solar Garden program being developed under the 2013 Xcel incentive program.

[M6a] Survey Brownfield Sites for Solar Development Opportunities(12)

Solar project has been developed at landfill building

Support the creation of a working group to identify brownfield sites with solar potential across the County, following the best practices and case studies provided. The EPA superfund sites should be a focus.

[M7] Publicize Solar Workforce Development Resources and Industry Training Tools(21)

Minimal level of information currently available in the County

Help market the availability of online tools and resources (as provided by the SSTI team) for the solar installer community, and organize an outreach/training event to generate awareness and understanding. HC3 website could possibly serve as a host for solar resources as well.

[M8] Provide Solar Educational Resources to Constituents(77)

Some information currently available via HC3 website

Cloud City Conservation Center website now hosts solar info for Lake County residents

County currently at best practice

Resources

For detailed permitting info, visit this jurisdiction's record at SolarPermit.org here: http://solarpermit.org/jurisdiction/lake-county-co/