SolSmart adds another 60 communities, helping to cut red tape and speed deployment of solar

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The SolSmart program, launched in 2016, has helped 460 communities streamline processes to speed deployment of solar energy, attract investment, and lower energy costs for families and businesses. In September, US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm issued a challenge to add another 60 communities to the program in the next six months, which was recently achieved.

Two organizations were awarded $10 million to manage the further expansion of the program,w which has already helped hundreds of communities. The expansion goal is to add another 500 communities over the next five years, while also adding new areas of focus including solar and storage, low- and moderate-income solar financing, and other strategies to accelerate deployment and benefit underserved communities.

Of the more than 60 new communities that accepted the September challenge to join SolSmart, at least 40% are considered underserved communities, helping to achieve DOE’s goals of increasing equitable access to clean energy and President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative. The recent expansion includes the first Puerto Rican communities to participate in the program. In addition, the expansion of the SolSmart program will help the United States reach President Biden’s goal of having an equitable, clean electricity grid by 2035.

“SolSmart has helped hundreds of local governments make it easier and more affordable to go solar, and I am thrilled to see the program take root in Puerto Rico, where solar power’s climate resilience adds enormous benefit for the grid,” said Secretary Granholm. “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to supporting local governments transitioning and expanding access to clean energy like solar power, particularly in underserved communities.”

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) will share the $10 million award to manage the program to encourage more equitable solar deployment and the adoption of emerging technologies, including a combination of solar power and battery storage.

The communities that accepted the challenge and were recently designated as SolSmart communities are:

  • Edgewater, CO
  • Frisco, CO
  • Glenwood Springs, CO
  • Nederland, CO
  • Guilford, CT
  • Pensacola, FL
  • Doraville, GA
  • Council Bluffs, IA
  • Blaine County, ID
  • Hailey, ID
  • McCall, ID
  • Meridian, ID
  • Pocatello, ID
  • Bensenville, IL
  • Broadview, IL
  • Carol Stream, IL
  • Geneva, IL
  • Gurnee, IL
  • Hazel Crest, IL
  • Mount Prospect, IL
  • Mundelein, IL
  • Northlake, IL
  • Oak Forest, IL
  • Westmont, IL
  • Carmel, IN
  • Michigan City, IN
  • Zionsville, IN
  • Topsham, ME
  • Coon Rapids, MN
  • Hopkins, MN
  • Morris, MN
  • Mounds View, MN
  • Northfield, MN
  • Woodbury, MN
  • Boone, NC
  • Cary, NC
  • Greensboro, NC
  • Holly Springs, NC
  • Morrisville, NC
  • Nags Head, NC
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Wilmington, NC
  • Reno, NV
  • Delaware, OH
  • Upper Arlington, OH
  • Etna, PA
  • Swarthmore, PA
  • Barranquitas, PR
  • Ciales, PR
  • Morovis, PR
  • Orocovis, PR
  • Villalba, PR
  • Greenville, SC
  • Newport News, VA
  • Bayside, WI
  • Laramie, WY
  • Atlanta Regional Commission (GA)
  • Michiana Area Council of Governments (IN)
  • Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (OH)
  • Region Nine Development Commission (MN)
  • South Central Regional Council of Governments (CT)

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