SolSmart is a national program that helps local governments reduce barriers to solar energy use for residents and businesses. SolSmart is led by IREC and the International City/County Management Association, and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office.
SolSmart provides no-cost technical assistance to help municipalities and counties reduce barriers and open their doors to solar energy growth. Since the launch of the program, almost 500 cities, counties, small towns, and regional organizations have achieved designation as SolSmart Gold, Silver, or Bronze.
In May 2022, the Department of Energy announced a $10 million award for IREC and ICMA to designate another 500 communities within the next five years. This second phase of the SolSmart program includes the new Platinum designation, for communities implementing cutting-edge best practices to support the growth of solar.
A cornerstone of SolSmart’s efforts will be to further the goals of the federal Justice40 initiative to provide equitable opportunities for underserved communities which face barriers including fossil dependence, energy burden, environmental and climate hazards, and socio-economic vulnerabilities. Of the 500 new designees, at least 200 will be from jurisdictions that the DOE recognizes as underserved.
Local governments have tremendous influence over the growth of solar energy. SolSmart helps communities achieve national best practices to encourage solar energy expansion at the local level. Our expert technical assistance team guides communities on planning and zoning, permitting, community engagement, and other programs and policies that impact solar market growth.
Each community proudly receives a SolSmart plaque once they have successfully met the criteria for designation. It is official recognition that the community is “open for solar business.”
How We Work
Open to Everyone
All communities nationwide are eligible to join SolSmart. Our network of SolSmart Advisor organizations provides hands-on guidance to municipalities and counties.
We’re committed to helping underserved communities, rural communities, and all others to achieve their goals — regardless of their experience level on solar energy.
Solsmart designees can receive recognition through the website, media opportunities, special events, and peer-to-peer outreach.
Making an Impact
SolSmart is helping communities expand solar markets. An independent evaluation found that Solsmart increased a community’s solar capacity by 69 kW per month on average.
States with SolSmart designees, plus DC, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands
People living in SolSmart-designated communities
Want to Join the SolSmart Program?
Contact the SolSmart program to get connected with an experienced technical assistance provider and make your community “open for solar business.” Get started today!
Alejandro MorenoActing Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
“Local governments across the country are looking to solar power to cut energy costs and transform their energy futures. This is why the SolSmart program is so important. It reduces barriers to solar energy by giving communities the tools to equitably deploy solar and enjoy the many benefits including household savings, job creation, resilience, and more.”