“The role of local governments in building stronger and more resilient communities has never been greater”--ICMA Executive Director Robert J. O'Neill, Jr.
Communities nationwide are invited to participate in the SolSmart designation program, which will recognize hundreds of leading communities that take action to foster solar market growth and reduce costs to residents and businesses. The program will also empower new communities to advance in the area of solar through no-cost technical assistance. ICMA will lead the effort to designate communities under SolSmart. Communities that apply and do not reach the base designation level will be referred to The Solar Foundation (TSF) to receive no-cost technical assistance to help the city, town, or county qualify for designation.
Here are a few of the ways communities can benefit from participation in the SolSmart program:
NATIONAL RECOGNITION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
"We have seen firsthand how our [solar] actions have led to considerable social and economic benefits locally,” said City Manager Scott Wingerson of Gladstone, Missouri. By participating in the SolSmart program, local governments will receive national recognition for their solar initiatives. SolSmart national designation signals that a community is “open for [solar] business,” thus helping to attract local economic development and create solar jobs.
Developing and maintaining a solar program can be complex. A core component of the SolSmart program is the opportunity to host a SolSmart advisor at no cost. Up to 40 communities will receive fully-funded, temporary SolSmart advisors to help evaluate existing local government policies and processes and apply industry-leading best practices to keep the community moving toward designation. “The Solar Foundation and its technical assistance partners have extensive experience working with communities to implement best practices,” says Andrea Luecke, president and executive director of The Solar Foundation.
Fiscal savings is one of the biggest motivators driving local governments to develop a sustainability plan, according to the 2015 Local Government Sustainability Practices Survey Report conducted by ICMA. The SolSmart program helps communities make solar more affordable and easier. The program seeks to address the “soft costs” of solar, which are business processes or administrative costs that can increase the time and money it takes to install a solar energy system. According to the U.S. Department of Energy the soft or “plug-in” costs of solar account for as much as 64% of the total cost of a new solar system!
For inquiries about the designation program and process, contact: Emily Dodson at ICMA, email@example.com; 202-962-3694.
For inquiries about technical assistance or the SolSmart Advisors program, contact: Philip Haddix at The Solar Foundation, firstname.lastname@example.org; 202-469-3743.