This toolkit presents a roadmap to help local governments and community stakeholders encourage the use of solar energy and related technologies like battery storage. SolSmart will be releasing new sections of the toolkit on a rolling basis to help cities, counties, and small towns become “open for solar business.”

Browse the Table of Contents below to read about your areas of interest. Ready to learn more? View more resources from SolSmart.



The Federal and State Context: Policies Affecting Solar Energy Development

This section provides a high-level overview of federal and state policies and programs that impact solar energy development.

Stakeholder Engagement

This section provides guidance to municipal and county staff on how to develop and implement an engagement strategy; including an overview of the relevant stakeholder groups; key topics; and tactics for making this engagement as effective as possible.

Planning, Zoning, & Development

This section provides information on how local governments can incorporate solar energy goals into local planning documents, such as comprehensive plans, functional plans, or small area plans.

Solar PV Construction: Codes, Permitting, and Inspection

This section provides a general overview of the permitting and inspection process in the United States, followed by a discussion of best practices for improving the permitting and inspection process at the local level.

Residential Issues and Existing Regulatory Framework

This section goes over the key areas of a residential transaction, applicable laws, and resources that local governments can provide to help educate and protect consumers.

Utility Engagement

This section provides detail on how electric utilities operate, along with the questions and concerns that are likely to arise as solar energy use expands. This will help local governments engage with utilities as they work toward their solar energy development goals.

Community Solar

This section provides an overview of community solar, including the different types of community solar models, various challenges of community solar models, and case studies of community solar.

Market Development and Finance

This section provides information on the financing of solar energy development as well as tools for local governments to shape local solar markets, including information regarding solarize campaigns, solar for LMI communities, PACE Financing, and workforce development.

Solar Development on Public Facilities and Under-Utilized Land

This section will provide information to help local governments adopt solar on public facilities. Topics covered include site development, financing municipal solar, regulatory issues, and municipal projects on Brownfields.

Resiliency: Solar + Storage

This section covers how solar + storage systems work as well as guidelines for communities on how to foster the development of solar + storage to promote resilience at the local level.