NLC Expands Support for Solar Energy Transition to 500 New Local Governments

March 26, 2023 - (3 min read)

Washington, D.C. – The National League of Cities (NLC) is expanding its support for solar energy transition at the local level through its partnership with SolSmart, a solar energy designation and no-cost technical assistance program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Since the program launched in 2016, SolSmart has helped hundreds of local governments and their residents save time and money by reducing the soft costs of going solar, which are the non-hardware costs that drive up the expense of installations.

“Through the  once-in-a-generation funding for municipalities provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, municipal leaders are playing a critical role in leading our nation toward a clean energy future, an essential part of addressing climate change,” NLC CEO and Executive Director Clarence E. Anthony said. “NLC is committed to actively supporting cities, towns, and villages in the equitable installation of local, distributed renewable energy.”

In the next phase of NLC’s SolSmart partnership, the program will expand to 500 more US cities, towns, villages, counties, and regional organizations to strengthen local solar energy markets, achieve energy equity goals, and encourage economic growth.

“We would like to sincerely thank the NLC for their support of the SolSmart program,” said Alejandro Moreno, Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “Local governments across the country are looking to solar power to cut energy costs and transform their energy futures. This is why the SolSmart program is so important. It reduces barriers to solar energy by giving communities the tools to equitably deploy solar and enjoy the many benefits including household savings, job creation, resilience, and more.”

SolSmart also is adding a new Platinum designation that recognizes local governments for cutting-edge achievements in the deployment of solar energy. This includes initiatives like instant online permitting and a commitment to support equitable access to solar energy.

Along with the new Platinum designation, the program has expanded its focus to reflect the latest developments in the clean energy transition. Key priorities will include clean energy equity; national codes and standards; innovative financing; data collection and metrics; and solar-adjacent technologies like battery storage.

“The City of Hopkins is extremely proud of our participation in SolSmart and how it has made the solar permitting process easier for residents and business owners,” said City of Hopkins, Minnesota, Mayor Patrick Hanlon. “The SolSmart team makes the designation process so easy and provides great technical assistance throughout. Any city can participate and make solar energy thrive in their community with just a few intentional steps.”

Beyond SolSmart, NLC works with communities across the country to activate people-centered systems transformation through local climate and sustainability leadership; build the capacity of municipal leaders at all levels through peer-learning opportunities, direct hands-on technical assistance and leadership training; and elevate innovative city successes in equitable climate actions to support scaling and replication of best practices.


The National League of Cities (NLC) is the voice of America’s cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people. NLC works to strengthen local leadership, influence federal policy and drive innovative solutions. Stay connected with NLC on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram.