ICMA, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and The Solar Foundation, established SolSmart, 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.
Local governments have tremendous influence over the prospects for solar energy growth. Unnecessary paperwork, red tape, and other burdensome requirements increase the cost of solar and discourage solar companies from moving to the area. By streamlining these requirements and taking other steps to encourage solar development, communities become “open for solar business.” And since the solar industry is a leading source of American job creation, attracting solar investment in your community is a great way to promote economic development and new jobs.
SolSmart uses objective criteria to designate communities that have successfully met these goals at three levels. To help communities achieve designation, SolSmart provides no-cost technical assistance from a team of national experts who work with local governments to evaluate programs and practices that impact solar markets and identify high-prospect opportunities for improvement.
ICMA and The Solar Foundation have lead roles in the SolSmart Program. ICMA manages the designation process, while The Solar Foundation manages technical assistance. ICMA’s role includes:
- Promoting SolSmart to cities, counties, and towns through ICMA’s outreach channels, including the ICMA website, social media, and conference sessions
- Inviting communities to apply for the SolSmart designation by completing an online application
- Evaluating applications for designation and awarding points based on documentation
- Recognizing outstanding participants with special awards
- Recognizing and publicizing communities that achieve the SolSmart designation.