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Solar America Cities Awards

Photo of the 86.7-AC-kilowatt solar electric system installed on the roof of the Art Institute of Chicago. The city of Chicago is the background to the system.

This 86.7-AC-kilowatt solar electric system was installed on the roof of the Art Institute of Chicago.

On June 20, 2007 the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) named thirteen U.S. cities as inaugural Solar America Cities. DOE recognizes Solar America Cities as partners highly committed to solar technology adoption at the local level. The awards are intended to accelerate solar adoption in our nation's electricity load centers by supporting cities' innovative efforts with financial and technical assistance. The cities selected are prepared to take a comprehensive, city-wide approach to solar technology that facilitates mainstream adoption through a variety of approaches. Solar technologies promoted by Solar America Cities include photovoltaics, concentrating solar power and solar water/air heating technologies.

What cities won?

On June 20, 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) named the following 13 cities as Solar America Cities:

  • Ann Arbor, MI
  • Austin, TX
  • Berkeley, CA
  • Boston, MA
  • Madison, WI
  • New Orleans, LA
  • New York City, NY
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Portland, OR
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • San Diego, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Tucson, AZ

Why were these 13 selected?

Each city submitted a proposal outlining their plans to build a sustainable solar infrastructure, streamline city-level regulations and promote mainstream solar technology adoption among residents and businesses. Cities were selected competitively. Evaluation criterion focused on the demonstration of a comprehensive city government approach to solar planning, including methods to further market expansion and to remove local market barriers. Selected cities demonstrated a level of commitment to promote solar throughout the city, involving local government officials, utilities and private partners.

What are the award amounts?

Winning cities are eligible for up to $200,000 each in DOE funding. Approximately $2 million in technical assistance is available to support projects in FY 2007 with an additional $600,000 for projects in 2008. Technical assistance is provided by DOE, its national laboratories, and other experts in areas such as city planning, technology selection, project financing, building codes, architecture, and community outreach communications.

What are the city goals?

  • Integration of solar energy into city planning and emergency preparedness plans
  • Development of a comprehensive city government approach to solar implementation, involving key stakeholders, utilities, and private partners
  • Large-scale solar installations
  • A reduction in market barriers by activities such as streamlining solar-friendly permitting and zoning
  • Creation of city-level solar incentives (e.g., solar rebates, financial assistance, tax credits, property tax abatements, and/or tax incentives to solar manufacturers who locate in the city.)
  • An increase in public awareness through inclusion of promotions and citywide education
  • Inclusion of renewable energy curriculum material in the public schools
  • A widespread increase in solar adoption
  • Solar America Cities serve as models for other cities

Resources for Cities

The information below is for Solar America Cities to use as a resource for their city campaigns promoting solar energy.

Solar America Cities Public Relations

Susan Carollo
DOE/Golden Field Office
Phone: (303)275-4852
Fax: (303)275-4830
E-mail: susan.carollo@go.doe.gov

Useful Websites with Solar Energy Information

Solar Research at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Basics about Solar Energy Technologies
Database of State & Local Incentives for Renewable Energy
Solar Electric Estimator

Solar America Initiative Fact Sheets

The following documents are available as Adobe Acrobat PDFs. Download Adobe Reader.

Solar Associations and Advocacy Groups

U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20585
www.eere.energy.gov www.energy.gov