Solar Education For Local Governments

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San Francisco Mayor and Solar America Cities
San Francisco is one of 25 Solar America Cities.

The U.S. Department of Energy is providing up to $10.5 million to increase the ability of local governments to accelerate solar energy adoption and workforce development. Through this program, called Solar America Cities, DOE provides local governments across the U.S. with timely and useful information to help them increase the deployment of solar energy systems.

Solar America Cities isn’t actually new. The program began in 2007 with 13 major cities, with an additional 12 added in 2008. However, the Department of Energy is ramping up funding.

To qualify for funding under Solar America Cities, cities must have a population of 100,000 or more and be committed to achieving a city-wide, mainstream adoption of a sustainable solar infrastructure, and serve as a model for other cities to follow.

In addition to education, the program will provide financial and technical assistance, case studies, and tool kits to support the cities’ innovative efforts to accelerate the adoption of solar energy technologies. DOE will partner with outreach organizations to get these tools into the hands of local government officials and stakeholders.

Typical funding includes $200,000 in financial assistance, and $250,000 in technical assistance per city.

DOE is encouraging local governments to take a comprehensive approach to solar energy adoption; one that includes workforce development and green jobs training, economic development through support for a local solar industry, and financial incentive programs that help citizens make investments in solar energy. By facilitating peer-to-peer information sharing, DOE will empower local governments to integrate solar energy into their communities.

The Solar America Cities program has already engaged more than 180 organizations, including municipal, county, and state agencies, solar companies, universities, utilities, and non-profit organizations. These partners have made a commitment to power their cities with clean, safe, reliable solar energy. The Solar America Cities program promotes photovoltaic and concentrating solar power technologies, as well as solar water heating and space heating and cooling.

Solar America Cities is part of the government’s goal of making photovoltaic energy cost-competitive with conventional grid electricity by 2015.

Read Large-Scale Solar Power Systems: Construction and Economics from Amazon.

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