The Solar Foundation announced that 22 communities were recently designated as SolSmart communities, with nine of them achieving SolSmart Gold, the highest designation. It’s been just over a year since The Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) launched SolSmart and now 58 communities have achieved status as a SolSmart community, meaning they have made it easier for people in their community to go solar.
“In just one year, 58 communities have demonstrated national leadership by making it faster, easier, and cheaper to go solar,” said Andrea Luecke, president and executive director at The Solar Foundation. “Local governments across the nation have tremendous opportunities to encourage solar energy development and the jobs and economic growth that come with it.”
The SolSmart designation is led by ICMA, which awards points to communities participating in the program. They’re evaluated on their solar programs and practices including permitting, planning and zoning. The Solar Foundation also offers no-cost technical assistance to participating cities and counties to achieve that designation and some communities are granted SolSmart Advisors—temporary staff to help communities achieve SolSmart status.
The nine communities that achieved SolSmart Gold are Atlanta, GA; Beaverton and Hillsboro, OR; Davis, CA; El Paso, Texas; Huntington Beach, CA; Madison, WI; Washington, DC; and Ypsilanti, MI. Ames, Iowa and Oro Valley, AZ were recognized as SolSmart Silver communities. The remaining 11 communities achieved SolSmart Bronze. They are Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Orange County, NC; Charlottesville, VA; Cupertino, CA; Dartmouth and Natick MA; Lincoln, NE; Miami-Dade County, FL; Raymore, MO; and San Antonio, Texas.
In addition, four SolSmart communities increased their commitment to being “open for business” for solar installations. Charleston County, SC; Philadelphia; Saint Paul, MN; and Somerville, MA, each achieved SolSmart Gold status after previously reaching Silver or Bronze status in the program.
The newly designated communities and the upgraded communities will be honored at the American Planning Association National Planning Conference in New York City on May 8.
“Technological advances are making renewable energy resources more affordable and local governments around the world are paying attention,” said David Grossman, director of Global Programs at ICMA. “Through the SolSmart designation program, cities and counties across the US are demonstrating their commitment to installing clean energy systems in their pursuit of sustainable communities.”
Already the 58 communities that have achieved SolSmart status are across 25 states and represent 29 million people across the US. The program aims to designate at least 300 communities over the course of the three-year program, which launched in 2016.Tweet