In 2015, National Civic League announced its partnership with ICMA (the International City/County Management Association) to establish a national recognition program to celebrate communities that are building the infrastructure and regulations to create strong solar marketplaces. Now in 2016, interested communities can receive free technical assistance (up to 100 hours) to help build a more solar ready community, and pursue national recognition for their efforts.

The SPARC program - Solar Powering America by Recognizing Communities - will award local governments with a "stamp of approval" for their efforts in building stronger solar environments. These communities will become models -- encouraging others to follow suit and helping to make it faster, cheaper, and easier for communities across the country to go solar. SPARC is a three-year cooperative effort between ICMA and its partners, and the U.S. Department of Energy, it is part of the larger SunShot Initiative which seeks to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources before the end of this decade.

Designation Benefits

Achieving SPARC designation will not only serve as a point of pride for communities, their elected officials and staff, and residents, but will signal to solar companies that these communities are “open for business” – resulting in increased local economic development opportunities and decreased costs for solar customers. And prospective SPARC designees don’t have to go it alone. Communities committed to pursuing designation will be eligible for up to 100 hours (on average) of free technical assistance from SPARC solar experts to help them qualify for the program.

Become an Early Adopter Community

Whether your community is on the cutting edge of solar deployment, or still aspirational, we invite you to contact leaders in your community and encourage them to consider SPARC designation. The SPARC “Early Adopter” campaign is now underway! The first 30 communities will receive special recognition and bonus points toward designation. We’re looking for commitments now to implement forward-thinking local solar policies based on proven, national best practices, for improving planning and zoningpermitting and inspection, and financing options. Spaces are filling up fast and the Early Adopter phase ends on March 31, 2016. Community representatives can go to www.GOSPARC.org to download and submit the Early Adopter intake form.