In August, the SolSmart program invited communities to enter the SolSmart Cities Challenge and the SolSmart County Challenge. These challenges allowed local governments to showcase the actions they have taken to encourage solar energy development.
The winners were announced on October 25, by SolSmart team members, the National League of Cities (NLC), who issued the challenge to its member cities, and the National Association of Counties (NACo), who issued the challenge to its member counties. The challenge was simple. Each of these member cities and counties were challenged to commit to removing local barriers to solar energy and document their solar-friendly local policies by completing a SolSmart designation scorecard.
And the Winners Are...
The two cities with the highest point total:
1st Place: Fremont, California
2nd Place: Kansas City, Missouri
The two counties with the highest points total:
1st Place: Charleston County, South Carolina
2nd Place: Inyo County, California
All four communities have worked diligently to create a local environment that is favorable for homes and businesses to go solar by removing local barriers, such as soft costs and red tape, in areas such as permitting, zoning, and financing.
What are the winners saying about solar?
“Receiving this first place recognition is an incredible accomplishment, but the true victory is the progress we’re making toward building a clean energy economy,” said Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison. “It has required a community-wide effort to get to where we are today. From informing our residents on the benefits of solar and encouraging them to move forward with installation, to creating a streamlined over-the-counter permitting process — it’s the little things that have really moved the needle and helped us reach our goals.”
Charleston County, SC
“There is an increased interest in solar power from both citizens and the business community in Charleston County,” according to Charleston County Building Services Director Carl Simmons. “Our department has met this demand by streamlining the permitting process and staying informed in the latest trends in solar energy. We are very pleased to be recognized for being a leading solar ready community.”
“Solar Power is a great example of how Charleston County strives to be on the cutting edge of providing the best to our citizens,” said County Council Chairman Elliott Summey. “This award is an excellent opportunity to shine a light on our efforts to provide our citizens, businesses, and industry the best support and tools they need to invest in solar power.”
Congratulations go to the winners of the SolSmart City and County Challenges!
Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, SolSmart provides national recognition for communities that make it easier and cheaper for business and individuals to invest in solar energy. SolSmart encourages city and county governments throughout the United States to improve local solar policies and processes and offers no-cost technical assistance to communities in the program looking to become more solar-friendly. In its role, ICMA leads the effort to designate communities under SolSmart by reviewing applications and determining whether your community meets the criteria for designation. As a local goverment organization, participation in the SolSmart program helps to reduce the soft costs of going solar and signals your community is “open for solar business,” which can help to spur solar adoption, create jobs, and boost the local economy. Learn More