IREC leads a national program to help local governments make it faster, easier, and more affordable to go solar.

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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 local jurisdictions reduce barriers and open their doors to solar energy growth. Since the launch of the program, more than 500 cities, counties, 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 involves furthering the goals of the federal Justice40 initiative to provide equitable opportunities for underserved communities across the U.S. A dedicated Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) committee advises SolSmart on best practices for supporting disadvantaged communities, revising criteria, and recruiting partners specializing in outreach to these populations. As a Justice40 program, SolSmart aims to ensure at least 40% of designated communities going forward are historically disadvantaged.

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.”

The Metropolitan Mayors Caucus has worked with SolSmart to help 45 communities in the Chicago area achieve designation. Illinois now has more SolSmart designees than any other state.

Our Impact


Designated Communities


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 Moreno

Acting 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.”