500 Communities Designated! Get Ready for 500 More
SolSmart is excited to announce that we have reached a new milestone with 500 local governments and regional organizations earning SolSmart designation. Local governments across the country have committed to enacting nationally-recognized solar best practices, changes that have helped communities increase solar energy installations, reduce costs and grow their local solar markets, creating jobs and clean, local, resilient energy! The 500th community was Ashland, Massachusetts, which recently earned their SolSmart Bronze designation. The town upgraded zoning requirements and made information more accessible to the public, as well as making a commitment to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 and installing solar panels on multiple municipal buildings. See a full list of SolSmart communities here.
As our country makes unprecedented investments in future infrastructure, the SolSmart team is excited to be expanding to help 500 more communities adopt nationally-recognized solar best practices. That includes awarding outstanding solar leaders the new Platinum designation, and ensuring that at least 200 of the new designees are communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution, in accordance with the Justice40 Initiative. Want to get started with SolSmart? Join us! If your community has already earned SolSmart Bronze, Silver, or Gold, you can also level up to a higher level of designation.
SolSmart By the Numbers
Here’s a breakdown of our 500 local government designees:
- SolSmart communities have been designated in 43 states, two U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
- More than 139 million people live in SolSmart-designated communities. That’s over 40% of the U.S. population!
- The first SolSmart designee was Austin, Texas, which earned a SolSmart Gold designation on August 17, 2016.
- The smallest SolSmart community is Amesville, Ohio (designated SolSmart Bronze), with a population of less than 200 people. The largest SolSmart community is New York City (designated SolSmart Gold), with a population of more than 8.3 million people.
SolSmart designees are taking the lead on creating solar-friendly communities. That includes a wide variety of initiatives, including, recently:
- Concord, California (SolSmart Gold) supported a community-wide group solar purchase program to increase access to solar energy for residents.
- Harris County, Texas (SolSmart Silver) installed solar panels on multiple government buildings, including an office building and a gymnasium.
- Gary, Indiana (SolSmart Bronze) upgraded zoning requirements and conducted an analysis of potential sites for solar PV installations across the city.
See a full list of SolSmart-designated communities here.
Want to Know More?
See more on our Introducing SolSmart page.
Clockwise from top left: City staff from Urbana, Illinois, with their 2017 SolSmart Bronze plaque and their 2023 SolSmart Gold plaque; officials from Fridley, Minnesota display their SolSmart Bronze plaque; officials from Milton, Massachusetts stand in front of city hall with their SolSmart Bronze plaque; and a rooftop solar array in Harris County, Texas (SolSmart Silver).