58 Communities in 25 States are Now “Open for Solar Business”

Just over a year after the SolSmart program launched, 58 communities in 25 states have achieved designation as “open for solar business.” Representing more than 29 million people, these cities and counties are cutting red tape to reduce the cost of solar energy at the local level.

You can see a map and list of all SolSmart designees here.

Today, SolSmart is announcing the latest 22 new designations at the American Planning Association National Planning Conference in New York City. We’re excited and proud to recognize what they’ve achieved.

Nine new communities achieved the highest designation of SolSmart GoldAtlanta, GeorgiaBeaverton, OregonDavis, CaliforniaEl Paso, TexasHillsboro, OregonHuntington Beach, California; Madison, Wisconsin; Washington, D.C.; and Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Two new communities were designated SolSmart SilverAmes, Iowa and Oro Valley, Arizona.

Eleven new communities were designated SolSmart BronzeCarrboro, North CarolinaChapel Hill, North CarolinaCharlottesville, Virginia; Cupertino, CaliforniaDartmouth, MassachusettsLincoln, Nebraska; Miami-Dade County, FloridaNatick, MassachusettsOrange County, North CarolinaRaymore, Missouri; and San Antonio, Texas.

And four more communities achieved SolSmart Gold after they were previously designated silver or bronze: Charleston County, South CarolinaPhiladelphia, PennsylvaniaSaint Paul, Minnesota; and Somerville, Massachusetts.

A few examples of their achievements include:

Atlanta, SolSmart Gold: The city developed a process to approve certain solar permit applications over the counter; proposed a solar plus storage project on an urban farm; launched a solar landing page on the city’s sustainability website; and created a streamlined permitting pathway for small solar systems.

Ames, SolSmart Silver: The city created an interactive map to share solar information with the public; encouraged solar projects on community facilities; provided clear guidance for solar in historic and special use districts; and provided intensive cross-training to permitting and inspection staff.

San Antonio, SolSmart Bronze: The city developed an online solar permitting process; installed solar on public facilities including the San Antonio International Airport; and created incentives through the local utility to make solar more affordable.

A huge congratulations is in order for all new SolSmart designees! To find out how your community can achieve recognition and no-cost technical assistance under the SolSmart program, contact us here.

“The City of Atlanta is proud to receive the SolSmart Gold Designation in recognition of our path-breaking leadership with solar energy. We launched the Solar Atlanta program in 2015, and are now installing solar panels on 28 municipal buildings, saving money and reducing our carbon emissions. With our new, streamlined permitting process, we are also sending the message that solar works for our residents and property owners.” — Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed

“The SolSmart program created a national benchmark for communities to reach and provided the guidance and resources to support adoption of best practices in solar policy. The actions that we took to be the first in the State of Virginia to achieve the SolSmart designation will help the city meet important climate protection and job creation goals.” — Maurice Jones, City Manager of the City of Charlottesville and President-Elect of the Virginia Local Government Management Association

“As the City of Madison strives to be a more sustainable community with a smaller carbon footprint, we are proud to receive this gold designation through SolSmart. Madison will continue to strive to do better and we look forward to additional milestones.” — Paul Soglin, Mayor of Madison, Wisconsin