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New Participatory Planning Exercise: Solar Powering Sunnyside

Solar Powering Sunnyside

The American Planning Association (APA), as part of the Solar Outreach Partnership (SolarOPs) team led by ICMA and funded by the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, created an exciting participatory planning exercise.  Solar Powering Sunnyside is a new planning exercise in the spirit of the comprehensive planning "chip games" that many communities use to engage residents and other stakeholders in developing preferred growth scenarios.

Through game play, participants will take on the roles of different community stakeholders in the Town of Sunnyside in order to help set and meet the town’s solar power production goal. In Round 1, participants will set a power production goal, discuss solar development opportunities and challenges associated with each of Sunnyside’s land uses, and place different types of solar installations on the map to achieve their goal. In Round 2 participants will draw cards and roll dice to see how competing priorities and alternative zoning approaches affect the solar development scenario they created in Round 1.

Town of Matthews, North Carolina

On May 21, 2016 the SolarOPs team held a community workshop with the Town of Matthews, NC, to engage residents in thinking about planning for solar energy.  Local planners, public officials, students, residents, and business owners joined APA to play Solar Powering Sunnyside.

Participants learned about:

  • How various land-uses present different solar development opportunities and challenges
  • How potentially competing priorities may influence solar development choices
  • How zoning may influence opportunities to install solar energy systems
  • What solar development scenarios may appeal to various community stakeholders

Coming Soon! Do-It-Yourself Solar Powering Sunnyside

Later this spring, everything you’ll need to plan and host your own Solar Powering Sunnyside game day will be available from the APA website. You’ll be able to download print files for the game board and game pieces, as well as character, community priority, and zoning approach cards; activity leader and participant instructions; and a comprehensive reference guide.

Contact APA to learn more Solar Powering Sunnyside

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