IREC leads a national program to help local governments make it faster, easier, and more affordable to go solar.

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SolSmart is a national program that helps local governments reduce barriers to solar energy use for residents and businesses. SolSmart is led by IREC and the International City/County Management Association, and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office.

SolSmart provides no-cost technical assistance to help municipalities and counties reduce barriers and open their doors to solar energy growth. Since the launch of the program, more than 450 cities, counties, small towns, and regional organizations have achieved designation as SolSmart Gold, Silver, or Bronze.

The SolSmart technical assistance team was first led by the Solar Foundation, which has since merged with IREC. In May 2022, the Department of Energy announced a $10 million award for IREC and ICMA to designate another 500 communities within the next five years.

Local governments have tremendous influence over the growth of solar energy. SolSmart helps communities achieve national best practices to encourage solar energy expansion at the local level. Our expert technical assistance team guides communities on planning and zoning, permitting, community engagement, and other programs and policies that impact solar market growth.

Each community proudly receives a SolSmart plaque once they have successfully met the criteria for designation. It is official recognition that the community is “open for solar business.”

The Metropolitan Mayors Caucus has worked with SolSmart to help 45 communities in the Chicago area achieve designation. Illinois now has more SolSmart designees than any other state.

How We Work

Open to Everyone

All communities nationwide are eligible to join SolSmart. Our network of SolSmart Advisor organizations provides hands-on guidance to municipalities and counties.

Meeting Needs

We’re committed to helping underserved communities, rural communities, and all others to achieve their goals — regardless of their experience level on solar energy.

Providing Visibility

Solsmart designees can receive recognition through the website, media opportunities, special events, and peer-to-peer outreach.

Making an Impact

SolSmart is helping communities expand solar markets. An independent evaluation found that Solsmart increased a community’s solar capacity by 69 kW per month on average.

Our Impact


Designated Communities


States with SolSmart designees, plus DC, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands


People living in SolSmart-designated communities 

Lynn Jurich

Former CEO, Sunrun
“SolSmart has encouraged more people to adopt solar, created quality local jobs, and brought more reliable local clean energy to our energy system.”

Get Started With SolSmart

If you're interested in learning more about SolSmart, let us know and we will be in touch.