Solar Gets Local: How the SolSmart Program Drives Deployment in Communities
Local jurisdictions are where the rubber meets the road for clean energy deployment. With the right resources, local governments can make solar energy adoption easier and more affordable for homes and businesses alike. At the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), we know that getting the right information in the right hands is crucial to meeting President Biden’s goal of a decarbonized electricity system by 2035 and a decarbonized energy sector by 2050.
That’s why DOE’s SolSmart program, led by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), is so important. Since it began in 2016, SolSmart and its team of national experts in solar energy and local government have helped hundreds of jurisdictions implement best practices and take decisive action to encourage the expansion of solar energy. The program offers free technical assistance to help any municipality, county, or regional organization remove obstacles to going solar and reduce the soft costs that can hold back growth.
Today, there are more than 420 SolSmart designated communities in 41 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands—and every community across the country is eligible to join them. Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm announced a goal last fall to add 60 new SolSmart-designated communities no later than March 2022.