ICMA Program Centers / Sustainable Communities / Projects / Solar Powering America by Recognizing Communities (SPARC)


ICMA, in partnership with The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and The Solar Foundation, established a national recognition and a no-cost technical assistance program for local governments — driving greater solar deployment and making it possible for even more American homes and businesses to access affordable and renewable solar energy to meet their electricity needs.


Earn visibility as a solar leader from the U.S. Department of Energy!

The new the SolSmart designation program will recognize leading solar cities and counties and offer no-cost technical assistance that empower new communities to become solar leaders. SolSmart national designation will signal that a community is “open for [solar] business,” helping  attract local economic development and create solar jobs. Attracting new solar business can also deliver cost savings for solar customers and local governments, and new solar installations can help communities achieve their climate goals.  Communities interested in pursuing SolSmart designation, receiving technical assistance, and applying to host an Advisor can learn more and take action at www.SolSmart.org.  


SolSmart is funded by the U.S Department of Energy SunShot Initiative through the Solar Powering America by Recognizing Communities (SPARC) funding opportunity. Over the three-year, federally-funded portion of the program, SolSmart will recognize more than 300 communities that have cut red tape for solar and made it possible for more American homes and businesses to access solar energy to meet their electricity needs.

sparc collage 01

Application Timeline:

The SolSmart program will accept applications on a rolling basis. Upon receipt, applications will be sent to a Certification Review team. Within one week of submission, the team will provide a confirmation that a community’s application is under review. This process of review may take up to two weeks. Upon completion, SolSmart will inform the community whether they’ve earned designation.

Following receipt of a community’s application status, both designated and non-designated communities can proceed towards these next steps:

  • If a community is deemed not ready for designation, the Review team will provide the update and connect the program’s TA lead with the community to help address areas of improvement and review the application. 
  • Upon completion of TA, communities that were deemed not ready for designation will be encouraged and better positioned to re-submit their application for review. 
  • If a community is deemed ready for designation, a final check-in process will include the Review team administering designation and announcing it via press release, social media and the SolSmart website. 
  • Communities deemed ready for designation will receive their tier – Bronze, Silver, or Gold -  and recognition at the annual SolSmart award ceremony.
  • All communities who are deemed ready for designation will also be given the opportunity to access TA through the program to continue improving local solar market conditions. 

To Apply: 

Community representatives can go to www.SolSmart.org and click the “Take Action” link to download and submit the SolSmart in-take application. For questions or assistance completing this form, please see below.

How to Get Help: 

For questions about the designation program, please contact:

Phone: 202-962-3622

Email: SolSmart@icma.org

For questions about technical assistance, please contact:

Phone: 703-828-4531

Email: phaddix@solarfound.org

International city/County Management Association

  • 777 North Capitol Street, NE Suite 500
  • Washington, DC 20002-4201
  • 800-745-8780/202-962-3680
  • Fax: 202-962-3500
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