Local governments have a lot to celebrate when it comes to their communities going solar. As of now, 125 cities, counties, and small towns have achieved SolSmart designation of Gold, Silver, or Bronze, joining the map of communities that are officially “open for solar business.”
Last week, local government professionals gathered at the International City/County Management Association annual conference in San Antonio, Texas. The many designated communities in attendance received well-deserved recognition for encouraging solar development at the local level.
Those who were lucky enough to stop by our booth were able to grab a special piece of cake, celebrating SolSmart’s year-and-a-half birthday (we’ll call that a thing) after the program launched in April 2016. More importantly, it’s a celebration of the hard work these 125 local governments have done to open up their communities to solar markets.
Some of the communities recently designated SolSmart Gold include Duluth, Minnesota; Evanston, Illinois; Johnson County, Iowa; and West Hollywood, California. Recent SolSmart Silver designees include Charlottesville, Virginia; Harrison County, Mississippi; Maplewood, Minnesota; and San Antonio, Texas. See the map and list of all 125 designees here.
At a special reception, we honored a group of communities that have gone above and beyond in meeting the criteria for SolSmart designation. Our Special Recognition Awards recognize communities that have achieved at least 60% o
f the total points available in one of the eight SolSmart categories (Permitting, Planning/Zoning/Development, Inspection, Construction Codes, Solar Rights, Utility Engagement, Community Engagement, and Marketing/Development/Finance).
Of all the awardees, we recognized one “Five-Time Winner” that met this goal in five of the eight categories: The conference host city, San Antonio, Texas. The “Four-Time Winners” that met the goal in four categories include Lafayette, Colorado; New York City; and Sonoma County, California. A full list of the Special Recognition Award winners is here.
Congratulations to all the communities across the nation that have received designation in the first year and a half of the SolSmart program!
El Paso, Texas Mayor Dee Margo held another event this month to celebrate the city’s achievement as a SolSmart Gold designee. Watch this video to hear from the mayor.
“By encouraging solar energy development at the local level, we are helping to support the growth of renewable energy, bring new businesses to our community, promote economic growth, and foster the creation of new jobs,” Mayor Margo said.
Local governments have another chance to receive recognition and take part in a photo opportunity at the upcoming National League of Cities City Summit from Nov. 15-18 in Charlotte, North Carolina. On Friday, Nov. 17 at 12:30 p.m. in the Exhibit Hall, visit the City Spotlight Theater session entitled Cities Harnessing the Sun: Solar Designation and Technical Assistance through SolSmart.” Learn more and register here. Contact Nick Kasza if you have any questions.