The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has allocated $13 million in funding as part of the Solar Powering America by Recognizing Communities (SPARC) program. The funds are designed to aid communities in reducing market and policy barriers to solar deployment and also recognize communities for taking solar initiatives. The DOE believes the program will make it faster, cheaper and easier for Americans to install affordable solar energy systems and spur solar development.
SPARC funding will establish a national recognition and technical assistance program for local governments to help them more effectively and efficiently deploy solar energy. Funding recipients will establish and administer a national recognition program and also provide technical assistance and share best practices with communities seeking national recognition for cutting red tape and improving local solar market conditions.
Once the program is established, says DOE, communities that participate in SPARC will gain access to a network of nationally recognized leaders and receive expert assistance and national distinction while supporting local efforts to spur solar market growth and deploy solar energy faster and cheaper. Find more information about this funding opportunity, including application requirements.
This funding opportunity builds on the work of the Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative to support innovative, locally-driven solutions for cutting the “soft costs” of solar energy—often caused by delays in permitting, inspection, and interconnection—to build markets that support solar businesses, lower costs for consumers, and increase solar deployment. This announcement comes on the heels of DOE’s $59 million funding announcement to support solar energy acceleration and $14 million commitment to help communities develop multi-year solar deployment plans to install solar electricity in homes, businesses, and communities.