National SolSmart program achieves goal to place 300 local governments on path to solar energy growth

In the US more than 300 local governments have now met national benchmarks »for encouraging the growth of solar energy and removing barriers to solar market development.« According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), these local governments have each received designation under »SolSmart«, launched in 2016. SolSmart is a national technical assistance program that recognizes leading solar communities and empowers additional communities to expand their local solar markets. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office, SolSmart strives to cut red tape, drive greater solar deployment, and make it possible for even more American homes and businesses to access solar energy to meet their electricity needs. More than 300 of 328 local governments in 40 states and the District of Columbia have achieved SolSmart designation, representing 82 million Americans. SolSmart is led by The Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association. »With over 18,000 communities in the U.S., we are excited to help hundreds if not thousands more reap the benefits of solar energy and compatible technologies like storage,« said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director at The Solar Foundation.
The first SolSmart designations were awarded in 2016 and included Kansas City, MO; Milwaukee, WI; Minneapolis, MN; Philadelphia, PA; Hartford, CT; and others. Anchorage, AK became the 300th community to achieve SolSmart designation, after the city installed Alaska’s largest solar array at the William A. Egan Civic and Convention Center.
Communities have set up web pages with detailed information on how members of the public can go solar, have ensured that zoning ordinances allow rooftop solar installations in all major areas without excessive restrictions or barriers. They have set up group purchase campaigns, providing savings for residents and helping the solar industry reduce customer acquisition costs and more. All 328 designees have established a set of unique solar goals to help drive continual improvement in their local solar market. Throughout the month of October, 300 communities are planning events, local announcements, and other special activities to highlight their solar energy achievements.
© PHOTON

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