SolSmart is a national program with local impacts. Since it was announced in April, SolSmart has been helping communities across the country make solar energy more affordable and accessible for homes and businesses.
Nearly 30 communities have already signed on as SolSmart “Early Adopters.” As the first participants in the SolSmart program, they will be the first of many communities to receive no-cost technical assistance to reduce costs and other barriers to solar energy development. (For more information on the SolSmart program, check out our FAQs here).
The SolSmart Early Adopter communities are:
These communities undertook a variety of actions to achieve their Early Adopter status, including, but not limited to:
- Reviewing municipal zoning code to determine barriers to solar installations.
- Distributing solar-ready construction guidelines to the appropriate departments for inclusion in materials accompanying permit applications.
- Designing a process flowchart to show residents how to install solar energy.
- Creating a one-pager detailing the solar permitting process.
- Updating municipal websites and webpages to include more information about solar energy.
The response from the Early Adopter communities has been enthusiastic. “Going solar —saving money, energy and the environment — in Denver should be accessible to every community and every household, and with this partnership we will help to make that a reality,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock.
"We already have a lot of pro-solar tools in our kit,” Columbia, Missouri Sustainability Manager Barbara Buffaloe told the Columbia Missourian. “We have rebates for people to do solar installations. We offer financing if they do an energy efficiency assessment on their house. We're looking for SolSmart to help us suggest what other opportunities we might make for people to install more solar."
SolSmart will continue working with these communities to provide each with no-cost technical assistance in their pursuit of a SolSmart designation – at the Bronze, Silver, or Gold level – showing the community has taken key steps to encourage solar energy development. As a perk for completing an action during the Early Adopter Campaign, these communities earned an additional ten points to help them on their way to designation. Early Adopters are now completing the new SolSmart intake form to determine their alignment with the finalized designation criteria.
SolSmart is proud and excited to work with these Early Adopter communities. We also look forward to working with many more communities in pursuit of the economic development, jobs, and opportunities that solar energy will bring.
I hope you’ll consider bringing your own city or county into the SolSmart program. You can start the process by applying now. To begin, simply fill out and submit an Intake Form. If you don’t have 100 percent of the information required to complete the form, that’s okay. Once you submit the Intake Form, we will be in touch about any next steps required. We look forward to working with you to help your community go solar!