SolSmart is a national community designation program, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, designed to recognize communities that take steps to make it easier for businesses and residents to go solar. Communities committed to pursuing SolSmart designation will be eligible for no-cost technical assistance from a team of national solar and local government experts.
Participating cities can earn SolSmart designation—at the bronze, silver, or gold level—by completing criteria that fall into eight categories: 1) Permitting; 2) Planning, Zoning, and Development; 3) Inspection; 4) Construction Codes; 5) Solar Rights; 6) Utility Engagement; 7) Community Engagement; and 8) Market Development and Finance. For more information on SolSmart, view the SolSmart Program Guide. The resources to the right hand side include regional guidance and best practices for each category. For additional examples and best practices of how cities across the country are satisfying SolSmart criteria, visit SolSmart Resources.
To help elevate the North Central Texas’ status as a solar-friendly region, NCTCOG is serving as a technical assistance provider in partnership with Meister Consulting Group, and is available to assist local governments in evaluating existing solar policies and processes and in submitting application materials. NCTCOG will also be hosting trainings to help cities meet SolSmart criteria. If your city is interested in pursuing SolSmart designation, contact Kristina Ronneberg.
Reducing soft costs can increase return on investment for solar customers. Complex or poorly-defined local government policies and processes can add $2,500 or more to the cost of going solar.
Eliminating red tape and making approval processes more efficient can save local governments time and money, helping communities better manage constrained budgets and limited taxpayer resources.
Improving local processes and policies for going solar can improve business prospects for solar companies. More than one-third of solar installation companies say they avoid serving communities because of permitting difficulties.
National recognition on the SolSmart website, outreach to the media, and other public announcements.
To learn more about the SolSmart program, designated cities, and resources available for cities interested in pursuing a SolSmart designation, explore the following pages.