More than 300 local governments have achieved SolSmart designation, SEIA says

Published on October 14, 2019 by Kevin Randolph

© Shutterstock

SolSmart, a national designation and technical assistance program, has achieved its goal of designating at least 300 local governments as SolSmart Gold, Silver, or Bronze, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) announced recently.

The SolSmart program, which launched in 2016, recognizes leading solar communities and empowers additional communities to expand their local solar markets.

All designated communities have met national criteria to show that they have streamlined local procedures to make it easier for homes and businesses to install solar energy systems. SolSmart provides intensive technical assistance at no cost to help communities meet these goals. The program is led by The Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association and is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office.

In total, 328 cities, counties, small towns, and regional organizations in 40 states and the District of Columbia representing 82 million people have achieved SolSmart designation. One in four people in the United States now live in a SolSmart-designated community, SEIA said.

“All across the nation, local governments are leading the way toward sustainable economic growth,” Andrea Luecke, president and executive director at The Solar Foundation, said. “SolSmart is a high performing, breakthrough program that has already helped more than 300 communities turn their goals and the demands of their constituents into reality, working with them to reduce carbon emissions, lower energy costs, create jobs, and build more resilient infrastructure. With over 18,000 communities in the U.S., we are excited to help hundreds if not thousands more reap the benefits of solar energy and compatible technologies like storage.”

Anchorage, Alaska, was the 300th community to achieve SolSmart designation. The city installed Alaska’s largest solar array at the William A. Egan Civic and Convention Center. Some of the most recent designees include Durham, N.C.; Elkhart County, Ind.; San Jose, Calif.; Doylestown, Penna.; Stevens Point, Wis.; Mountain Iron, Minn.; Miami Lakes, Fla.; Decorah, Iowa; and Haddonfield, N.J.

“For years state and local governments have been leading the way on solar energy adoption,” SEIA President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper said. “Programs like SolSmart can improve local permitting practices and cut unnecessary costs, making it much easier for American families and businesses to go solar. We congratulate the hundreds of communities that are stepping up to make solar affordable and accessible.”