The Solar Foundation (TSF) and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) are pleased to announce that next week the Solar Powering America by Recognizing Communities (SPARC) program will relaunch as SolSmart (www.solsmart.org).
The SolSmart program will designate communities that have taken key steps to cut red tape and improve local solar market conditions. The SolSmart designation will be comprised of Bronze, Silver, and Gold tiers to recognize differing level of community achievement based on the extent to which these actions can reduce soft costs or promote the use of solar locally. Achieving SolSmart designation will not only serve as a point of pride for communities, but will signal to solar companies that these communities are “open for business.”
SolSmart designation, coupled with robust and agile technical assistance, will ignite local solar markets while establishing consistency in solar practices across the country. Communities committed to pursuing designation will be eligible for no-cost technical assistance – commensurate with their level of need – from national solar experts to help them qualify for designation. The SolSmart designation program will support the goals of the SunShot Initiative to make it faster, cheaper, and easier to go solar.
Throughout the remainder of April, we will continue to work with our Early Adopter communities – a small group of highly motivated communities already in the program pipeline – to help them implement solar soft cost best practices and earn bonus points which will help them attain SolSmart designation once the full program criteria are available later this month. This full program launch will also include the first call for applications from prospective host communities for the SolSmart Advisors program. Advisors will be fully-funded temporary staff embedded in local governments or regional organizations and tasked with providing technical assistance to help host communities achieve designation.
In the run-up to the release we encourage interested communities to brush up on their solar knowledge by checking out the trainings and tutorials on our website. To request more information about the SolSmart program, please visit www.solsmart.org.
For questions about the SolSmart designation program and application process, please contact Emily Dodson ([email protected]).
For questions about technical assistance offered to communities pursuing SolSmart designation, please contact Philip Haddix ([email protected]).