SolSmart – A New National Solar Designation Program
The Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association are pleased to announce the launch of the SolSmart (www.solsmart.org) program. Cities and counties nationwide can now apply to receive official national designation – at either the Bronze, Silver, or Gold tier – for taking action and reducing the cost of solar locally.
Funded through the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, SolSmart will provide national recognition to leading solar cities and counties and empower new communities to become solar leaders through no-cost technical assistance. SolSmart helps communities address solar “soft costs.” These business process or administrative costs can increase the time and money it takes to install a solar energy system – costs which are passed on to solar customers and limit solar market potential. Local governments are uniquely positioned to reduce soft costs and take action to promote solar in local jurisdictions. By taking actions and earning SolSmart designation, a community signals to solar companies and others that it is “open for [solar] business.” This signal can help attract new solar firms, and lower costs for residents and local governments.One component of this technical assistance, which also launched today, is the SolSmart Advisors program. SolSmart Advisors are fully-funded, temporary staff that will provide in-person technical assistance to nearly 40 communities for up to six months. After undergoing a thorough training regime from national solar experts, a SolSmart Advisor will evaluate existing processes and programs and apply industry-leading practices to help the host community achieve designation. Communities can through an open, competitive process running through the end of June 2016.