SolSmart awards cities and counties points using objective criteria for removing obstacles to solar energy development. Communities that receive sufficient points are designated SolSmart Gold, Silver or Bronze.
Public statement of solar goals via a Commitment Letter and tracking of key metrics such as number of systems and installed capacity. These goals should include the community’s intended areas of focus for the SolSmart Designation, and a commitment of staff resources.
Solar permit checklist posted online detailing the steps of the permitting process for solar.
Review of zoning requirements and identification of restrictions intentionally or unintentionally prohibiting PV development. Compile findings in a memo, and commit to reducing barriers to PV during next zoning review. Examples include height restrictions, set-back requirements, allowing solar “by-right” in residential and commercial zones without requiring a conditional use permit.
The community achieves at least 20 points in the Permitting, and at least 20 points in the Planning, Zoning, and Development Regulations categories.
The community achieves 20 points across the remaining categories.
Communities can submit their own proposals for innovative activities to be considered for points in a particular category. These proposals will be reviewed by a technical committee for consideration for points on a quarterly basis. A single innovative action cannot earn more than 20 points. All innovative actions cannot contribute more than 50 points to a community’s score.
Communities which complete 60% of points in a particular special focus category will be eligible for a special award (e.g. Award for Excellence in Planning, Zoning, and Development Regulations).
If communities are involved with and/or have implemented processes at a regional level, these can be counted towards a community’s score if documentation is provided. For example, if a community participated in a regional Solarize program, energy task force, or has engaged with utilities as part of a group effort, these actions could earn points if documented.
We encourage all communities that have questions about the process to request a consultation call first before starting the Intake Form. If you feel like you're prepared to complete the SolSmart Intake Form, please continue.
Before you begin, we recommend reviewing the SolSmart Program Guide and Frequently Asked Questions. Due to the comprehensiveness of the form, we also recommend printing and reviewing the SolSmart Application (PDF) which contains the same designation criteria information as this online form in printable format. Circulating it to your colleagues in relevant local government departments and collecting verification documents before beginning will make information easier to enter in fewer sittings, and may help to expedite the processing of your intake form.
Documentation & Verification
This intake form is comprehensive of solar soft cost issues addressable by local governments and it will require input from multiple departments. Each action includes recommended forms of documentation an applicant can submit for our team to verify that an action has been achieved. While submitting the recommended documentation is preferable and will help expedite the review process, we recognize that not every community will have the same documentation. In these cases, please provide what is available and best demonstrates the achievement of each action. View the Solsmart Application Appendix.
Saving Your Progress
This intake form allows respondents to save their progress at the end of each page and return at a later time to complete additional sections. The form will not save your progress if you exit without clicking the “Save and Resume Later” link, which may be found at the bottom of each page. Each time you save you will receive a new link.