SolSmart has continued to grow rapidly since its public launch in April 2016. Over 400 municipalities, counties, and regional organizations nationwide have earned Bronze, Silver, and Gold designations for fostering the development of local solar markets.
Today, the program continues to focus on helping additional local governments tap into the benefits of solar energy, including underserved communities that may lack the staff, resources, or opportunities to achieve SolSmart designation.
Essential to our past and future success is the SolSmart Advisor Team. SolSmart Advisors are temporary, program-trained staff who work with select communities for up to seven months. Advisors provide no-cost, hands-on technical assistance.
SolSmart has conducted three previous recruitment rounds under the program, resulting in 20 Advisor organizations serving over 200 individual local governments. Advisors provide a unique resource for communities and regions interested in accelerating the advancement of solar energy. The SolSmart Technical Assistance team has developed training that assists these organizations in effectively working with communities to reach solar goals.
This month, SolSmart is excited to announce the selected Advisors for the fourth round of the SolSmart Advisor program, as well as several new partner organizations!
Several new Advisors will work to increase the number of underserved communities designated under the program, especially in states where there are few or no current designated cities and counties.
Underserved communities may have limited staff, a lower per capita income, or other historic disadvantages that could make it more difficult to expand solar energy use. Engaging with these communities through the Advisor program will help ensure the benefits of solar energy are accessible to everyone.
The four organizations selected to serve as Advisors trained and funded by SolSmart are:
The Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS): IBTS will focus on municipalities in Puerto Rico, where the nonprofit organization has identified six communities that are actively working on solar programs and willing to commit to earning SolSmart designation.
The Utah Association of Counties (UAC): UAC intends to work with seven regional Associations of Governments in Utah, focusing on underserved communities and rural counties.
Warm Springs Consulting LLC: WSC will focus on communities and tribes in Idaho and neighboring rural areas in Wyoming, Oregon, and Montana.
UNPREDICABLEcity: UNPREDICTABLEcity will be working with up to 14 communities, focusing primarily on rural or underserved communities in Ohio. The organization will also be working with the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission to elevate its SolSmart Silver status to Gold.
In addition, we are proud to announce two additional new Advisor organizations with funding from outside of the SolSmart program. They are:
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) Office: Sponsored by the state of Michigan, the office will help additional communities in the state achieve SolSmart designation, leveraging related programs to assist communities with a just transition toward decarbonization.
Sustainable Ohio Public Energy Council (SOPEC): SOPEC is a Regional Council of Governments that provides public energy services to communities across Ohio. Through a funded AmeriCorps volunteer position, SOPEC will focus on helping communities that are current SolSmart designees “level up” to Silver or Gold-level, and helping other member communities to achieve SolSmart designation and their other solar goals.
SolSmart is made up of a team of partner organizations with expertise in solar energy and local governments. In addition to new Advisor organizations, we are pleased to announce three new organizations that will be joining the SolSmart team as partners:
National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO): NASEO will help increase state energy office awareness of opportunities to participate in SolSmart, and increase the participation of states currently underrepresented in SolSmart.
National Association of Regional Councils (NARC): NARC will assist the SolSmart Program in the outreach, recruitment, and onboarding of Metropolitan Planning Organizations, Councils of Government and Regional Councils that can achieve SolSmart designation through a modified pathway for regional organizations.
NADO Research Foundation (NADO RF): NADO RF will encourage member Regional Development Organizations to explore the regional organization pathway for SolSmart designation and increase awareness of resources and technical assistance provided through SolSmart.
We are very excited to welcome these new Advisor organizations and partners! Together these new allies create an even stronger SolSmart team that is ready to help more communities go solar. To find out how your community can be involved, contact SolSmart today.