Updated SolSmart Program Guide!

Are you interested in turning your city, town, or county into a SolSmart community? Check out SolSmart’s updated Program Guide for recommended resources to achieve over 90 “solar-ready” actions. 

Local governments can have a significant effect on the growth of solar in their communities. To help local governments design and implement plans to encourage solar growth and remove obstacles to solar development, SolSmart has released an updated Program Guide. The Program Guide builds off of the SolSmart application by recommending resources to complete each “solar-ready” action. Each action helps local governments improve local processes, making it faster, easier, and more affordable to go solar.

These actions measure local government progress toward creating a “solar-ready” community and span across eight categories:

  • Permitting;
  • Planning, Zoning, & Development Regulations;
  • Inspection;
  • Construction Codes;
  • Solar Rights;
  • Community Engagement;
  • Utility Engagement; and
  • Market Development & Finance

Modeled after policies and processes in cities, towns, and counties nationwide and vetted by prominent solar experts, the solar best practices outlined in each category, if implemented, benefit several community stakeholders:

  • Resident and businesses seeking to use solar energy to cut their energy costs or be more sustainable can enjoy a greater return on their investment when regulatory burdens are reduced. Cumbersome local government processes can add up to $2,500 to the cost of going solar.
  • Local governments benefit from the time and money saved by cutting red tape and making processes more efficient. For example, providing more accessible information on permit applications can decrease the volume of questions from installers and the number of incomplete applications, thereby reducing demands on staff time.
  • Local solar companies benefit from streamlined processes that reduce barriers to entering the market. More than one-third of installers say there are at least three communities they avoid because of local permitting difficulties, representing lost opportunities for economic development and job growth.

When sufficient actions across the eight categories are completed, SolSmart designates local governments as “solar-ready” at a Bronze, Silver, or Gold level. To date, SolSmart has designated over 240 local governments nationwide as “solar-ready.”

Any municipality or county, regardless of size or solar experience, is eligible to receive no-cost technical assistance from our team of national solar experts to help design and implement plans to become more “solar-ready” and earn SolSmart designation. If you’re interested in learning more about SolSmart technical assistance or the designation process, request a consultation here.

Download the SolSmart’s Program Guide here.