In addition to funding, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) provides technical assistance to nonprofit and for-profit organizations, state and local governments, and other entities that are working to address barriers and improve access to solar energy. Learn more about SETO’s technical assistance programs and initiatives below.
SolSmart is a national designation program that recognizes local governments (cities, towns, counties, and regional organizations) for implementing practices that make it easier and faster to go solar. The program provides free technical assistance to communities that are interested in addressing local barriers to solar deployment, such as permitting and zoning. More than 300 communities in the United States have a SolSmart gold, silver, or bronze designation.
Solar Automated Permit Processing+, known as SolarAPP+, is a web-based platform that automates solar permitting for local governments and other authorities having jurisdiction. SETO funded the initial development and commercialization of SolarAPP+ in 2019 through an award to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). This collaborative effort fosters rooftop solar adoption by making it easier for local governments to quickly and safely approve standardized rooftop projects. Technical assistance is available to communities that adopt SolarAPP+. Register on NREL's website.
National Community Solar Partnership
The National Community Solar Partnership is a coalition of community solar stakeholders working to expand access to affordable community solar to every American household by 2025. Partners leverage peer networks and technical assistance resources to set goals and work to overcome persistent barriers to expanding community solar access to underserved communities.
Solar Energy Innovation Network
The Solar Energy Innovation Network assembles multi-stakeholder teams that research and share solutions to real-world challenges associated with solar energy adoption. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) administers the program and, with other expert partners, provides technical assistance and facilitation support to identify local and regional impacts of team projects, formulate and test innovations, and validate new ideas.
Interconnection Innovation e-Xchange
The Interconnection Innovation e-Xchange (i2X) is a stakeholder partnership to enable a simpler, faster, and fairer interconnection process for clean energy resources while enhancing the reliability, resiliency, and security of our electric grid. Technical assistance is available to directly support stakeholders in improving interconnection practices and processes for the bulk power system. The technical assistance must be specific to the interconnection of solar, wind, storage, or electric vehicle charging facilities, or a hybrid integration of these technologies.
Grid Modernization Initiative Technical Assistance for State Utility Regulators
Public utility commissions receive technical assistance from the National Laboratories to help state regulators make decisions and develop innovative solutions to improve grid reliability and resiliency, enable the adoption of new technologies, promote energy and environmental justice, and develop strategies to decarbonize their electric grids.
Additional U.S. Department of Energy Resources
- Local Government Guide for Solar Deployment – This guide assists local government officials and stakeholders in boosting solar deployment with case studies that contain approaches to reduce market barriers that have been field tested in cities and counties around the country.
- Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Technical Assistance – This compiled list provides technical assistance resources for states, communities, and Tribes that support energy efficiency and renewable energy, including solar.
- Reducing Energy Burden for Low-income Residents in Multifamily Housing with Solar Energy – This issue brief discusses some key considerations and related opportunities for deploying solar energy for low-income multifamily housing and profiles examples that demonstrate how state and local entities have deployed solar energy on behalf of low-income residents.
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Technical Support Services – Lab experts provide technical support services related to energy use and future scenarios for U.S. state, local, and tribal jurisdictions when there are not federally supported programs available.
- NREL Technical Assistance for Early Adopters Program – Experts offer technical assistance to communities, institutions, and organizations based on findings from the Solar Energy Innovation Network. This program skeeks to create resilience hubs, solar-powered microgrids, parameters to reduce solar interconnection costs, and more.
- Clean Energy Demonstration on Mine Land Technical Assistance – DOE is offering technical assistance to inform decision-making on topics related to developing clean energy projects on mine land. This effort will provide no-cost technical assistance that informs the development of successful, impactful, and replicable projects that align with Clean Energy on Mine Land Program priorities.
Learn more about soft costs research and SETO's open funding opportunities.