SolSmart Designates First Solar-friendly Communities

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Twenty-two communities throughout the U.S. have been recognized for removing barriers to solar energy and making it easier and more affordable for homes and businesses to install solar.

(Getty Images)
Among other benefits, residential solar panels reduce dependence on a community’s power grid. Cities can promote the use of solar power by implementing policies that streamline the permitting process, provide tax incentives, and allow more people to install solar through innovative financing programs. (Getty Images)

If a home or business in your community wants to install solar panels, what would they need to do? Are there clear building codes, zoning rules, or permit processes to follow?

The National League of Cities is proud to be part of the SolSmart team, helping cities throughout the United States capitalize on a booming solar energy market and providing citizens the option of cheap, renewable energy. This week, SolSmart recognized the first 22 communities to receive designation for removing barriers to solar energy and making it easier and more affordable for homes and businesses to install solar. SolSmart honored the designees on Monday, September 26 in a special ceremony at the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) annual conference in Kansas City, Missouri.

The 14 communities awarded SolSmart Gold designation are:

Austin, Texas Boulder, Colorado Columbia, Missouri
Fremont, California Fort Collins, Colorado Gladstone, Missouri
Hartford, Connecticut Kansas City, Missouri Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Minneapolis, Minnesota San Carlos, California Santa Monica, California
Santa Rosa, California Satellite Beach, Florida

The community awarded SolSmart Silver designation is:

Boulder County, Colorado

The seven communities awarded SolSmart Bronze designation are:

Burlington, Vermont Claremont, California Denver, Colorado
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Redwood City, California Saint Paul, Minnesota
Somerville, Massachusetts

A SolSmart designation signals that a community is “open for solar business,” distinguishing these communities from their peers. In addition to this recognition, the SolSmart team provides no-cost technical assistance for any community looking to improve local solar markets.

This is just the beginning. Any city or county is eligible to join SolSmart and take advantage of no-cost technical assistance to help the community achieve designation.

To participate in the SolSmart City Challenge, pursue SolSmart designation, or learn more about the program, simply fill out this form:

About the Author: Nick Kasza is a Senior Associate with the Sustainable Cities Institute at the National League of Cities. He is part of a team that administers the SolSmart program and helps deliver technical assistance to cities pursuing SolSmart designation. His areas of expertise include solar photovoltaic project development, due diligence, and risk assessment.