SolSmart is a national designation program, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, designed to recognize communities that have taken key steps to address local barriers to solar energy and foster the growth of mature local solar markets. The SolSmart program primarily seeks to address "solar soft costs," or business process or administrative costs that can increase the time and money it takes to install a solar energy system — costs which are then passed on to solar customers. While only certain local government policies and processes (such as permitting, planning, and zoning) are the source of some soft costs, local governments are in a unique position to reduce soft costs and take action to promote the use of solar locally. The SolSmart designation program will provide high-profile, national recognition for communities that have made it cheaper and easier for solar customers to invest in solar energy. In addition, achieving designation will send a signal to solar companies that a community is "open for business," attracting new businesses and helping designees share in the economic development benefits attached to the solar industry.
If your local government—city or county—wants to participate in SolSmart, there are three easy steps that you can begin with:
- Contact Zach Greene, Solar Foundation staff, at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will be happy to walk you through the application process and answer any questions!
- Complete the Solar Statement. Completion of the Solar Statement is a pre-requisite for the SolSmart program. Use this template to get started.
- Begin reviewing the SolSmart Intake Form. The Intake Form serves as a benchmarking tool to determine how solar friendly your community already is. A SolSmart work plan will be developed by SolSmart technical advisors once the Intake Form has been completed.