Getting Started with Solar
Welcome to Zionsville’s solar resource webpage. The Town of Zionsville is seeking ways to encourage solar energy development in our community. This webpage represents a collection of solar information and resources for the community. Our community’s solar goals can be found in its Solar Statement. For more information about the basics of solar energy, your solar options and questions to ask solar professionals, read the Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power and visit the Department of Energy’s Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar.
Climate Action Plan
As part of the Town of Zionsville's Climate Action Plan, we're setting ambitious goals and taking steps toward changes that will protect our town.
One of those steps is to promote access to clean energy and energy savings. Energy use makes up around 67% of Zionsville's greenhouse gas emissions for the year 2018. 48% of these emissions stemmed from residential energy use while the remaining 19% came from energy used by commercial or government buildings. Energy-related emissions can be mitigated by using greener energy sources that release fewer GHG emissions into the atmosphere and by adopting wise practices and technologies to reduce overall energy use.
SolSmart Bronze Designation
The Town of Zionsville has received a Bronze designation from the national SolSmart program for making it faster, easier and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar.
This designation recognizes the Town of Zionsville for taking 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 Zionsville is “open for solar business.”
SolSmart is led by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. More than 400 cities, counties and towns have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016.
Boone County Solar Co-op
For a third year, nonprofit group Solar United Neighbors has launched the Boone County Solar Co-op available to homeowners, small businesses, and nonprofits in the county. In 2020, the first year the co-op launched, 69 Boone County homeowners joined the co-op (56 with Zionsville addresses) and 10 Boone County homeowners signed solar contracts (9 with Zionsville addresses).
In 2020, Zionsville Town Hall joined the Boone County Solar Co-op. Mayor Emily Styron joined the co-op to review future options for solar panels at Town Hall.
The solar co-op is cost- and commitment-free. Co-op members will learn about solar energy and leverage bulk purchasing to ensure competitive pricing and quality solar installations.
Our Solar Commitment
Our Community and Economic Development Department is committed to exceptional customer service as it relates to solar processes. To promote the continued advancement of solar in our community the department is committed to:
- Providing clear guidelines about the solar permitting and inspection process in our solar checklist.
- Using an electrical application.
- Processing small rooftop solar PV permit applications in no more than 5 business days after submittal.
- Offering next-day inspection appointments if scheduled by 7 a.m. for solar projects.
- The Community & Economic Development Department only requires one inspection for solar installations, a final electrical inspection. To request an inspection, call (317) 873-8247 prior to 7 a.m. All inspection requests placed after 7 a.m. will be scheduled for the following business day.
Solar energy uses a renewable energy source – the sun – and provides many benefits for individuals and the community. It improves environmental quality by reducing carbon emissions and air pollution, supports local solar companies in Indiana, saves money on energy costs as the price continues to drop from technological developments, and improves electric grid resilience during peak demand and other stresses to the system.
Solar Maps and Potential
Finding a Contractor and Going Solar
Find a solar contractor (or two) to assess your home for solar energy and provide a quote.
- Join the Boone County Solar Co-op.
- Certified practitioners can be found through NABCEP.
- Visit EnergySage to learn about solar energy and submit for solar quotes from a network of pre-screened local solar installers.
- Consumer Solar Checklist – a checklist for residential consumers considering solar energy from IREC, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.
- Clean Energy Consumer Bill of Rights – ensure a positive consumer experience by addressing important issues from IREC, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.
- Solar Customer Resource Portal – various resources from SEIA, the Solar Energy Industries Association.
Financing, Incentives and Tax Exemptions
- A Homeowner’s Guide to Solar Financing – learn about different financing options from CESA, the Clean Energy States Alliance.
Solar Rights and Procedures
The Indiana General Assembly passed a law in the spring of 2022 protecting the property rights of Hoosiers who want to go solar (HEA 1196). The law provides a clear path for homeowners in restrictive homeowners associations to get approval from their neighbors to install solar panels.
Indiana Code Title 36. Local Government § 36-7-2-8
Sec. 8. (a) As used in this section, “solar energy system” means either of the following:
(1) any solar collector or other solar energy device whose primary purpose is to provide for the collection, storage, and distribution of solar energy for space heating or cooling, or for water heating; or
(2) any structural design feature of a building, whose primary purpose is to provide for the collection, storage, and distribution of energy for space heating or cooling, or for water heating.
(b) A unit may not adopt any ordinance which has the effect of prohibiting or of unreasonably restricting the use of solar energy systems other than for the preservation or protection of the public health and safety.
(c) This section does not apply to ordinances which impose reasonable restrictions on solar energy systems. However, it is the policy of this state to promote and encourage the use of solar energy systems and to remove obstacles to their use. Reasonable restrictions on solar energy systems are those restrictions which:
(1) do not significantly increase the cost of the system or significantly decrease its efficiency; or
(2) allow for an alternative system of comparable cost and efficiency.