Since its announcement last fall, the Solar Powering America by Recognizing Communities (SPARC) program has made significant progress toward its objectives of establishing a national designation for leading solar communities and empowering communities to become solar leaders through no-cost, customized technical assistance. The work of the Criteria Advisory Committee (CAC)– a group of experienced, national leaders in local government solar issues tasked with developing the designation criteria and structure– is nearing completion, putting the program on track for a full launch in early April. Over the same period, more than 40 communities have expressed interest in receiving early no-cost technical assistance and bonus points toward designation through the Early Adopter campaign, and the clock is ticking to see which of these will be among the first 30 to take action by March 31st to earn this unique, time-limited distinction.
Transition from the early phases of the program to the full designation system has begun. In order to help communities hit the ground running when the application period opens next month, the SPARC team will offer a series of weekly educational segments leading up to the launch. Through prerecorded webinars, videos, fact sheets, and other offerings, SPARC will highlight resources that provide more insight into solar energy, local government solar issues, and exciting opportunities through the SPARC program. Please tune in for the following segments - with additional weeks outlined below the video:
Thursday, March 17. Raise your solar IQ with a short “Solar 101 for Local Governments” video, presented by the solar experts at Meister Consultants Group.
Thursday, March 24. Gain a more in-depth understanding of solar soft costs – and learn how addressing these can result in time and cost savings for solar companies, their customers, and local governments – through a short “Soft Cost Overview” from The Solar Foundation.
Thursday, March 31. Get a “sneak peek” at the SPARC Advisors program, which will provide between 30 and 40 communities with fully-funded, temporary staff dedicated to helping their hosts achieve SPARC designation.
Additional segments on planning and zoning, permitting, and other solar-related issues may also be available. You can access these segments by visiting the SPARC Blog or Twitter account (@SPARCsolar) and through our partner organizations. Each segment will be available indefinitely through these channels.
Communities interested in joining SPARC can sign up on the Contact page of gosparc.org. By providing contact information, communities will receive a notification once criteria are released. Additionally, SPARC encourages communities to email the program to learn more about the program and the opportunities it presents.
SEIA is a partner organization of the SPARC program that is powered by the DOE's SunShot Initiative. The original post can be viewed on the SPARC Blog at gosparc.org.