Pictured: the first-ever large scale solar generation system for a municipality in Oklahoma for the City of Norman (install date: Oct. 20, 2020).
Working together, citizens and their cities are helping city leaders find solutions to municipal budget challenges. More sustainable solutions can mean cost savings in the short and long term, with the hope of passing along high-efficiency systems to the next generation.
Tackling infrastructure replacement is a priority for state and federal initiatives. Revamping utility systems, implementing electric vehicle fleets in light of rising gas prices and rethinking waste management has brought cost savings to communities throughout the country. For example, when Denver crews replaced 2,000 LED bulbs in 200 traffic signals throughout its metro-area a decade ago, savings topped more than $800,000 per year, a figure that underscores the value of citywide change.
From asking key questions about taxpayer-funded services to pushing for more efficient utilities, change is happening through citizen-led efforts, even right here in Oklahoma.
One Oklahoma city is leading the way right now with a citizen-led movement. The City of Norman is the first city in the state to commit to renewable energy as part of the Sierra Club’s Ready For 100 campaign. The citizen-led initiative encourages communities to transition to renewables as their primary source of energy. In May 2020, the Norman City Council approved a related measure, with the goal of implementing 100% renewable energy in all energy sectors by 2050.
More than 180 towns and cities in the U.S. have joined the Ready for 100 campaign. Oklahoma City ranks as one of the top 50 cities where solar power offers the best value, according to a 2015 study.
If your area is not involved in a similar initiative, here are three key questions to ask elected officials to get started:
- How is our city preparing for the future through cost saving efforts? What plans are already in place?
- How can citizens work with the City to maximize the use of our tax dollars for a more sustainable future?
- What can members of the community do to help the City stretch its budget?
Of course, whether or not your city’s leadership is ready for a sustainable shift, there are still changes individual homeowners can make to create cost savings in the short and long term.
Choosing solar power for your family’s home is an excellent way to save on utilities. Find out about tax credits, low-interest financing and reduced utility bills. Our customers’ first-hand experience speaks to the value of solar. Read a homeowner profile here from a local energy policy advisor who recently chose to go solar on her home.
Help put your city on the map with efficient ways of working together with city leaders for change.