Project Profile: The International City/County Management Association

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Funding Opportunity: Solar Powering America by Recognizing Communities (SPARC)
SunShot Subprogram:  Soft Costs
Location: Washington, DC
SunShot Award Amount: $2,998,449
Awardee Cost Share: $179,311

This initiative will create a prominent national recognition program for local governments that are building stronger solar environments around the country. The project team will craft a fresh and accessible designation program and launch annual awards for achievements in various categories and provided by state, region and community size. The awards and other competitions will celebrate communities and other stakeholders that break new ground, make remarkable progress or develop new innovations.

SPARC is currently accepting early technical assistance applications. Learn more and apply.

Approach

The team’s core activities will include: convening and managing a criteria advisory committee to create ambitious goals for communities seeking to gain a designation; establishing, administering, promoting and growing a SPARC designation program as well as supplementary awards and competitions for communities and other targeted audiences that have verifiable metrics and tracking data; operating a parallel education and outreach campaign that will continue to promote the benefits of reducing soft costs for robust local solar markets; and developing a long term program sustainability plan that will ensure an enduring program.

The team will meet important goals related to the creation and management of an innovative designation program including developing ambitious criteria for designation, a stakeholder outreach materials, and a sustainability plan. The team will work to designate over 300 communities nationally by the end of the project.

Innovation

In order to lower soft costs and increase deployment, the project team will utilize several innovative strategies to increase the number of communities competing for the designation and the effectiveness of the program overall.  Online badges and awards will recognize communities who have successfully implemented specific solar policies or resources, and ongoing competitions will reward success in real time allowing the project team to acknowledge progress quickly.  These processes combined with more traditional annual awards, and outreach materials will help to incentivize communities to improve their local solar markets, while encouraging a diverse group of communities to compete for the designation. 

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