Big news: More than 100 cities, counties, and small towns across America are designated SolSmart Gold, Silver, or Bronze!
Since we launched the SolSmart program in April 2016, we’ve been providing no-cost technical assistance to help communities improve the business climate for solar energy. With over 100 communities receiving designation -- and many more working toward designation in the near future -- this milestone is an opportunity for local governments to celebrate what they’ve achieved.
Where are these designees? Check out our map and you’ll see they’re everywhere. They range from major metro areas like New York City, Atlanta, and Chicago; to small towns like Red Wing, Minnesota and Pinecrest, Florida; to rural counties like Inyo County, California and Delta County, Colorado.
We’re more confident than ever that every local government has the tools to make it faster, easier, and more affordable to go solar -- no matter the size of the community or where they are located.
What does a SolSmart designation mean? To start with, the communities receive well-deserved recognition and a SolSmart plaque to hang in their offices. However, this designation is much more than just an award. It indicates that local governments have met objective criteria to remove obstacles to solar development and become “open for solar business.”
For the solar industry, a SolSmart designation shows that a community is an attractive place to enter the market. Businesses can be confident they won’t face procedural obstacles such as long permitting waiting times, burdensome zoning regulations, or other local procedures that unnecessarily impair solar development.
When local governments streamline their procedures, this allows companies to provide solar at a lower cost and pass these savings on to consumers. That means even more households and businesses will be able to obtain clean, affordable, and reliable energy through solar.
And by attracting more solar to the community, cities and counties position themselves for job creation and economic development. The solar industry created 1 in 50 American jobs in 2016, and the solar jobs market is growing 17 times faster than the overall economy. Local action to drive solar energy growth helps keep those jobs in the community.
SolSmart designees are national leaders that should be an example to their peers. Congratulations to them all, and we can’t wait to recognize many more designees in the near future!