Project Profile: The Solar Foundation

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Funding Opportunity: Solar Powering America by Recognizing Communities (SPARC)
SunShot Subprogram:  Soft Costs
Location: Washington, DC
SunShot Award Amount: $9,999,996
Awardee Cost Share: $271,190

The Solar Foundation will serve as the Technical Assistance Provider (TAP) for communities pursuing the Solar Powering America by Recognizing Communities (SPARC) designation.

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

Approach

The TAP will implement a three-pronged approach to delivering technical assistance: 

  • Direct technical assistance to communities from our team of experienced national experts; 
  • A fellowship program that will embed local experts in dozens of communities to identify and reduce soft cost barriers and qualify them for SPARC designation; and
  • National peer mentorship and learning. 

Through these efforts, the TAP will enable at least 300 communities across the U.S. to qualify for designation under SPARC, resulting time and cost savings for local governments and their staff, increased prospects for solar company and workforce growth, and greater affordability of solar energy systems for consumers. 

Innovation

Drawing on its extensive experience in providing technical assistance to local and state governments, the TAP identified several innovations to overcome challenges related to technical assistance demand and delivery.

In order to address the lack of support from key decision makers, the TAP will utilize a both “top-down” and grassroots outreach strategies. The “top-down” outreach strategy will focus on active promotion of the program and its offerings to members of national organizations on the TAP team serving local governments, with grassroots efforts occurring through the TAP’s connections with solar businesses, community-based organizations, and other relevant stakeholders active in targeted communities. These activities will be complemented by a strategic communications campaign designed to encourage community participation in the program and “name and fame” those achieving designation.

Additionally, in order to address constraints related to community operational capacity, the TAP will design and implement a Fellows program aimed at providing temporary staff to help communities identify and reduce soft cost barriers, improve the ability of each host community to qualify for designation, and promote the SPARC designation program to neighboring jurisdictions.

TAP Concept Figure 04.23.2015.png