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Livingston County Solar Coordination Program receives national honor

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The National Association of Counties (NACo) has awarded Livingston County and its solar team a 2023 NACo Achievement Award for efforts in assisting communities with the responsible development of alternative energy systems, specifically solar and battery energy storage systems (BESS), throughout the County.  

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The County’s Solar Coordination Program brings together a unique mix of subject matter experts, including New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA), Livingston County Planning Department staff and the County’s new Solar Coordinator, MRB Group for engineering expertise, and the Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council (G/FLRPC). This solar team assists communities in researching ever-evolving technological advances, creating local laws that balance the need for alternative energy with natural resource and neighbor protections, and reviewing solar and BESS projects.

The award commends the County solar team’s work in advancing energy goals and environmental stewardship through innovative solar planning. Livingston County has rapidly witnessed growth in the number of solar projects proposed, presenting a challenge for local land use reviews to keep up with demand. By providing technical assistance, education, and training to municipal boards and officials, the County’s Solar Coordination Program has assisted these municipalities with effectively navigating the challenges posed by the number of projects, ever-evolving technology, and size of projects proposed.  

Under the program, 14 towns and one village have successfully adopted solar and BESS regulations, with additional municipalities currently working toward adopting their own alternative energy regulations. To date, the program has supported the review of 29 solar projects and anticipates more in the near future.

“The County’s Solar Coordination Program has been instrumental in assisting our communities with their project reviews and helping them move towards sustainable solar development,” said Deputy County Administrator Angela Ellis. “Through collaboration and information sharing, we are building a sustainable energy future for our community. This award is a direct reflection of the dedication and hard work of our solar team, and we are honored to be recognized for our collective efforts.”    

First introduced in 1970, NACo’s Achievement Awards recognize and celebrate the wide-ranging services delivered by counties across the country, such as community and economic development, criminal justice and public safety, and risk and emergency management.  The awards aim to highlight innovation within county government.