WASHINGTON — The International City/County Management Association (ICMA), the professional and educational organization for appointed local government managers, administrators, and assistants announced today that it is the prime recipient of a multi-year cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative.

The new award, part of the Solar Powering America by Recognizing Communities (SPARC) program, will establish a prominent national recognition program to energize local solar marketplaces. Building on SunShot’s success in community-focused solar efforts, the SPARC program will qualify at least 300 leading communities that seek to achieve designation and engage hundreds more through robust competitions and awards initiatives.

By awarding local governments with a “stamp of approval” for their efforts in building stronger solar environments around the country, this program will help encourage the adoption of best practices in solar soft cost areas, such as permitting, inspection, and interconnection. The SPARC program supports the goals of the SunShot Initiative to make it faster, cheaper, and easier to go solar.

“The role of local governments in building stronger and more resilient communities has never been more apparent,” said ICMA Executive Director Robert J. O’Neill, Jr. “As one of the nation’s largest consumers of electricity, our cities, towns and counties have the opportunity to make an impact on the financial, environmental, and economic health of the country by adopting solar energy technologies.”

The SPARC program awards and competitions will celebrate communities and other stakeholders that break new ground, make remarkable progress, and develop new innovations, signaling to the marketplace that participating communities are market ready for solar jobs and economic activity.

Partnering organizations include: the National Civic League, Home Innovations Research Labs, Meister Consultants Group, The Solar Foundation, and Esri.

About ICMA
ICMA, the International City/County Management Association, advances professional local government worldwide. The organization’s mission is to create excellence in local governance by developing and fostering professional management to build sustainable communities that improve people’s lives. ICMA provides member support; publications; data and information; peer and results-oriented assistance; and training and professional development to 10,000 appointed city, town, and county leaders and other individuals and organizations throughout the world. The management decisions made by ICMA’s members affect millions of individuals living in thousands of communities throughout the world, from small villages and towns to large metropolitan areas.

About the SunShot Initiative
The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort that aggressively drives innovation to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources by the end of the decade. Through SunShot, the Energy Dept. supports efforts by private companies, universities, and national laboratories to drive down the cost of solar electricity to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour.

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has 8+ years of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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