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

Learn more about soft costs research and SETO's open funding opportunities.