Expanded Support for Local Solar Energy Leadership through SolSmart Program


  • Nick Kasza
June 15, 2022 - (2 min read)

Over the last 6 years the National League of Cities has promoted local solar energy leadership through a partnership with SolSmart, a national designation and technical assistance program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Together, NLC and SolSmart have awarded designations to over 460 communities that have implemented solar energy best practices across the United States – from Anchorage, Alaska to South Miami, Florida – from New York City (population est. 8.47 million) to Amesville, Ohio (population est. 150). Will your city be next to join the list of designated communities?  

On May 24th, 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy announced that the SolSmart program will expand to help 500 more communities over the next 5 years. The program will be led by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). The two organizations will share the $10 million award to expand the program and will include initiatives to ensure 40% of new designees are underserved communities, in support of President Biden’s Justice40 initiative. The National League of Cities will continue to be an important partner to SolSmart as they work to designate an additional 500 communities.  

With the expansion of SolSmart, the program will encourage more equitable solar deployment and the adoption of emerging technologies, including a combination of solar power and battery storage. All cities, counties, and regional organizations are eligible to join SolSmart and receive no-cost technical assistance to achieve designation. 

NLC and the SolSmart team will continue to provide solar technical assistance and best practice guidance on a variety of topics that are important to local governments including permitting and inspection, planning and zoning, and community engagement. The best part is that this assistance comes at no cost to the community! Once a city implements solar energy best practices, the local government is recognized and is eligible for SolSmart Bronze, Silver, or Gold designation. 

On May 24th, the U.S. Department of Energy also announced SolSmart’s achievement of Secretary Granholm’s challenge to designate another 60 communities to the program in six months, issued in September 2021. The complete list of the 60 communities can be found in the Department of Energy’s press release

To engage in the SolSmart program and join the over 460 communities who have made it faster, easier, and more affordable to go solar in their jurisdictions, please visit solsmart.org.  

About the Author

Nick Kasza

About the Author

Nick Kasza is a Program Manager with the Sustainable Cities Institute at the National League of Cities.