Santa Rosa, CA – July 25, 2017 – SolSmart, a program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, has awarded a gold designation to recognize the County of Sonoma as a national leader in advancing solar energy.
As a SolSmart Gold designee, the County of Sonoma has received national recognition for adopting programs and practices that help address barriers to solar energy use and foster the growth of strong local solar markets. A SolSmart designation is a signal that the community is “open for solar
business,” helping to attract solar industry investment and generate economic development and local jobs.
“Sonoma County is a leader in environmental stewardship as demonstrated by many of the programs and services we provide to make it faster, easier, and cheaper to go solar,” said Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Shirlee Zane. “To expand clean energy locally we are offering free consultations for residents to learn about
solar and we’ll even help navigate the permitting process. We deeply appreciate this honorable award recognizing our efforts.”
To achieve designation, cities and counties must take steps to reduce solar “soft costs,” which are non-hardware costs that can increase the time and money it takes to install a solar energy system. Examples of soft costs include planning and zoning; permitting; financing; customer acquisition; and installation
labor. Soft costs now represent roughly two-thirds of the total price of an installed residential system. Reducing these costs leads to savings that are passed on to consumers.
The SolSmart designation team, led by the
International City/County Management Association (ICMA), evaluates communities and awards them points based on the actions they take to reduce soft costs and other barriers to solar. Communities that take sufficient action are designed either gold, silver, or
SolSmart is a national designation and technical assistance program that recognizes leading solar communities and empowers additional communities to expand their local solar markets. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, SolSmart strives to cut red
tape, drive greater solar deployment, and make it possible for even more American homes and businesses to access solar energy to meet their electricity needs. Learn more at
About the SunShot Initiative
U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort that aggressively drives innovation to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources before the end of the decade. Through SunShot, the Energy Department supports efforts by
private companies, universities, and national laboratories to drive down the cost of solar electricity to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour. Learn more at