This week, SolSmart officially designated seven new cities and counties for making solar energy more affordable and accessible -- and three other communities moved from SolSmart Bronze to Silver or Gold.
Here are the communities that received designation:
- New York City and Louisville, Kentucky both received the highest designation of SolSmart Gold. Denver, Colorado, previously designated SolSmart Bronze, moved to the Gold designation as well.
- Charleston County, South Carolina and Pinecrest, Florida were designated SolSmart Silver after previously receiving the Bronze designation.
- Three cities were designated SolSmart Bronze: Moab, Utah; Plano Texas; and Salt Lake City, Utah. Two counties also received the Bronze designation: Maricopa County, Arizona and Summit County, Utah.
The National League of Cities honored the designated cities and towns this week at its Congressional City Conference in Washington, D.C. (See pictures of some of the designees below!) The National Association of Counties also honored the two counties receiving designation at a recent Washington, D.C. legislative conference, where Charleston County was featured in a panel discussion.
A total of 36 communities have now received SolSmart designation since the program was launched in 2016, representing 21.8 million people in 18 states. SolSmart designation recognizes communities for taking steps to reduce the cost of solar energy and becoming “open for solar business.”
The SolSmart technical assistance team is working with local governments to cut red tape and ensure that local programs and practices encourage solar energy development -- so that many more communities will receive designation very soon. Municipalities and counties can begin the process by responding to this email or visiting SolSmart.org.
Here’s what local officials and solar companies are saying about the new designees:
“We are thrilled to achieve Gold designation in the SolSmart program. Solar power has become very cost effective and our citizens are eager to harness the sun’s energy in their homes and businesses. Through participating in the SolSmart program, we now have a clear-cut process for permitting and installing solar panels.” -- Maria Koetter, Director of the Louisville Metro Office of Sustainability
“The SolSmart Gold designation recognizes that New York City is a great place for solar companies to do business. When we entered the city’s solar market in 2002, we identified plenty of barriers, including unruly regulations, high system costs, and a lack of customer awareness. We have worked with the City University of New York and other installers and advocacy groups over the years to identify and erase many of the hurdles related to permitting, interconnection, and customer uptake. Today, New York City is one of the largest, most advanced solar markets in the country.” -- David Buckner, President of Solar Energy Systems, LLC
“Cities are leading the way on solar deployment and driving our country toward a sustainable future. As a proud SolSmart partner, the National League of Cities congratulates the new designees on their achievement and we look forward to empowering more communities to expand their local solar markets.” -- Matt Zone, president of the National League of Cities and councilmember on the Cleveland City Council