The SolSmart Standard Criteria pathway is organized into five categories: Permitting and Inspection, Planning and Zoning, Government Operations, Community Engagement, and Market Development. Within each category are specific actions that municipalities, counties, and regional organizations can take to encourage local solar energy use.
Some of the criteria are prerequisites, while others are elective. Each criteria has a corresponding point value. Upon meeting the prerequisites and reaching a sufficient number of points in each category, a participant qualifies for SolSmart designation. This flexible process allows a local government to select a plan that is best tailored to their community.
In March 2023, SolSmart updated the designation criteria to reflect current best practices, as determined by an advisory committee of experts in solar energy and local government. SolSmart also announced a new Platinum designation to recognize communities with exceptional solar energy achievements. Details on updated criteria are available in the new SolSmart Program Guides.
Since the SolSmart criteria are updated periodically, local governments designated in previous years may have met a slightly different list of criteria. The SolSmart team will work with them to update these records if they are interested in moving to a higher level of designation.