Through the Solar America Communities effort, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is working to rapidly increase the use and integration of solar energy in communities across the country.
DOE recognizes the important role of local governments in accelerating widespread solar energy adoption. As the nation’s centers of electricity consumption, cities are uniquely positioned to reduce global climate change, strengthen America’s energy independence, and support the transition to a clean energy economy by converting to solar energy sources.
DOE has taken a three-pronged approach to identifying and overcoming barriers to urban solar implementation, then sharing lessons learned and best practices to facilitate replication across the nation:
- Solar America Cities Partnerships are cooperative agreements between DOE and 25 large U.S. cities to develop comprehensive, city-wide approaches to increasing solar energy use. Learn more about the solar activities in these cities. The Solar America Cities partnerships are the foundation of the Solar America Communities program.
- Solar America Cities Special Projects, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, tackle key barriers to urban solar energy use that were identified through the 25 city partnerships. Read more about these special projects.
- Solar America Communities Outreach Partnership is an effort to share the best practices developed through the original 25 city partnerships and special projects with hundreds of other local governments, accelerating solar energy adoption across the United States. Learn more about the outreach efforts.
As a result of widespread success in the 25 Solar America Cities, DOE expanded these activities in 2010 by launching a national outreach effort described above. As the Solar America Cities activities evolved to include this new outreach effort, this effort was renamed Solar America Communities to reflect DOE’s commitment to supporting solar initiatives in all types of local jurisdictions, including cities and counties.