WASHINGTON, D.C. —The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and The Solar Foundation (TSF) today recognized the District of Columbia with SolSmart Gold designation for its efforts to lower barriers to solar energy development by cutting red tape to reduce the cost of solar energy and becoming “open for solar business.” Implemented by ICMA and TSF, the national SolSmart program provides recognition and no-cost technical assistance to help local governments reduce obstacles to solar energy growth.
D.C.’s SolSmart designation took place at a Northeast Washington residence (where a solar installation is in progress) as part of an event that kicked off Solar Works, a new low-income solar installation and job training program. The event was coordinated by the D.C. Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) and the D.C. Department of Employment Services (DOES). Marcus Travis, SolSmart communications manager, ICMA Global Programs; and Andrea Luecke, TSF president and executive director, presented a plaque to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. Others in attendance included: DOEE Director Tommy Wells, DOES Director Odie Donald, GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic Executive Director Nicole Steele, and other District representatives. GRID Alternatives recently won a competitive bid from the city to train District residents in solar installation.
“Through the SolSmart designation program, cities and counties across the U.S. are demonstrating their commitment to installing clean energy systems in their pursuit of sustainable communities,” Travis said. “We congratulate Washington, D.C., for its efforts to make solar energy more affordable and to train its residents to enter careers in solar and related industries.
Local governments achieve SolSmart designation by evaluating programs and practices (such as permitting, planning, and zoning) to reduce obstacles to solar energy development and pass cost savings on to consumers. The SolSmart designation team, led by ICMA, awards points to cities and counties that recognize the actions those communities take to reduce barriers to solar energy development. Based on the number of points they receive, communities receive gold, silver, or bronze designation.
A total of 78 communities in 29 states representing nearly 40 million people have achieved SolSmart designation since the program’s inception in April 2016. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, SolSmart aims to designate at least 300 communities over the course of the three-year program. Washington, D.C., was honored as one of the newest SolSmart designees at the 2017 Annual Conference of the National Association of Counties in Columbus/Franklin County, Ohio.
All U.S. cities and counties are eligible to join SolSmart and receive no-cost technical assistance to achieve designation. Communities can begin the process by visiting SolSmart.org. Or click on the SolSmart Designee Community Spotlights to learn more about the designees and the actions each community took to achieve designation.
ICMA, the International City/County Management Association, advances professional local government worldwide through leadership, management, innovation, and ethics. ICMA is second only to the federal government in the collection, analysis, and dissemination of data focused on issues related to local government management. Through expansive partnerships with local governments, federal agencies, nonprofits, and philanthropic funders, the organization gathers information on topics such as sustainability, health care, aging communities, economic development, homeland security, alternative service delivery, as well as performance measurement and management data on a variety of local government services—all of which support related training, education, and technical assistance.
ICMA provides member support, publications, data and information, peer and results-oriented assistance, and training and professional development to 11,000 city, town, and county experts and other individuals and organizations throughout the world. The management decisions made by ICMA's members affect millions of individuals living in thousands of communities, from small villages and towns to large metropolitan areas.