SolSmart Advisors

A unique feature of the SolSmart program is the opportunity for participating communities to apply to host a SolSmart Advisor – fully-funded, experienced staff recruited to help communities achieve designation. Once assigned to their Host Communities, Advisors will evaluate existing local government programs and processes and apply industry-leading best practices to keep the community moving toward designation. SolSmart Advisors will assist 30 communities through engagements lasting up to six months and receive stipends of approximately $1,250/week on average.

There will be one more opportunity for communities to be chosen as a Host Community for SolSmart Advisors.

The communities and organizations below will host SolSmart Advisors beginning in July 2017.


Schedule of Upcoming Webinars


The Solar Foundation will be hosting two webinars to explain the application process. The webinars will be held at the following times:
  • Thursday, December 15, at 2:00pm ET
  • Wednesday, January 4, at 2:00pm ET
We encourage you to register for one of the webinars.

Host Community Qualifications

Complete details are available in the 2017 SolSmart Host Community Application, but an abbreviated application timeline and list of Host Community qualifications is provided below.

1. To be considered, Prospective Host Communities must submit the following materials by January 31:
           a. For solo communities acting as hosts, applications must include:
                    i. A completed SolSmart Intake Form and a public solar statement; AND
                    ii. Advisor Host Community Application
          b. For regional entities or entities that are leading a collaborative application to share an Advisor, applications must include:
                    i. Completed SolSmart Intake Form and a public solar statement for all communities to be included in the Advisor’s scope of work (these SolSmart applications are to be filled out by the individual participating communities); AND
                    ii. A single Advisor Host Community Application submitted by the lead entity on behalf of all participating communities

2. Prospective Advisor Hosts that would like assistance may contact James Schroll at jschroll@solarfound.org to schedule an initial consultation call to learn more about the Host Community Application process. Communities that feel prepared may begin completing the SolSmart Intake Form, public solar statement, and Advisor Host Community Application.

3. SolSmart will notify “conditionally selected” Host Communities no earlier than March 1. This initial selection will be conditioned on the ability of the Host Community and the SolSmart program to mutually develop a work plan that represents a clear path to designation.

4. For “conditionally selected” Host Communities, the SolSmart team will schedule introductory calls with Host Communities to start the process of finalizing work plans.
           a. For single communities, work plans AND milestones will be developed at individual community level
           b. For regional organizations, work plans will be developed at individual community level but milestones will be developed at regional level.

5. All work plans finalized and Host Community MOUs will be executed by April 15

6. SolSmart will formally announce final Advisor Host Communities on April 17

7. Advisor training will occur in late June 2017

8. Advisors will deploy to their communities in July 2017


Assessment of a Community’s Application:


Upon receipt of the Host Community Application, the SolSmart team will conduct a review based on the following factors:

1. Commitment to achieving SolSmart designation (demonstrated through the submission of completed SolSmart Intake Forms and Solar Statements for all communities);

2. Potential for impact (based on the number of communities to be designated by an Advisor);

3. Strength of Project Narrative (based on whether communities demonstrate an understanding of the purpose, goals, and expectations of the Advisors program; the project and likelihood that the Advisor will be able to adequately serve all communities covered by the Host Community application; the roles/activities envisioned for the Advisor; and whether the applicant understands the commitments inherent in receiving an Advisor.);

4.Level of need (based on the SolSmart designation Intake Form benchmarking results); and

5. Geographic and socioeconomic diversity (among other applicants)

Secondary consideration will be given to the potential for long-term opportunities for Advisors and the ability and willingness of the Host Community to provide project cost share.

Once selected, Host Communities will have the option to nominate a current staff member to serve as an Advisor, though all nominees must be vetted and approved by the SolSmart team. Communities that do not wish to nominate an Advisor (or those nominating Advisors that do not qualify) will be paired with an Advisor chosen with the assistance of the SolSmart team through an open application process. All Advisors will be required to attend a week-long orientation, training, and networking event in Washington, D.C. in early summer 2017.