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Applications Open for Third Round of SolSmart Advisors

We are pleased to announce the opening of the application process for the third round of SolSmart Advisors. SolSmart Advisors provide no-cost, hands-on technical assistance in communities that are selected through this competitive application process. Each Advisor works in a community or region full-time for approximately six months.

Advisors present a unique opportunity to communities and regions interested in accelerating the advancement of solar energy. Our previous Advisors have assisted communities in launching Solarize campaigns, modeling solar installations on government buildings, streamlining solar permitting processes, and much more.

The open Advisor application is separated into two pathways. The appropriate pathway is determined by the lead applicant: 1) a local government; or 2) an organization. Applications are due by June 4, 2018.

1) Community-Based Application

This application is for local governments (cities, counties, villages, towns, etc.) that want to apply to host a SolSmart Advisor for themselves and/or a group of communities. The lead local government applicant, which we call the “Host Community,” will complete the community-based application. The most competitive applications will include a partnership between two or more communities (a “cohort”), with a larger number of communities being preferable.

Usually, the Host Community will provide the physical office where the SolSmart Advisor works. Alternatively, the Host Community may nominate a local organization at which the Advisor could have a work space, if that is preferable. The Host Community will manage and work with the Advisor to ensure their community earns designation, along with any other communities listed on the application. SolSmart staff will provide additional project management and technical assistance to support the Advisor engagement.

Through this application process, SolSmart expects to award five (5) communities/cohorts the opportunity to host an Advisor. After Host Communities are selected in June 2018, SolSmart will work collaboratively with the awardees to interview and hire SolSmart Advisors. Alternatively, Host Communities may nominate a specific person to serve as their Advisor as part of their application. Candidates selected as Advisors will attend a training in late 2018 and begin work in their respective Host Communities in January 2019.

If you are interested in learning more, we encourage you to read the application and join one of the upcoming webinars (consult the schedule below).

2) Organization-Based RFP

This pathway is for organizations including, but not limited to, councils of government, regional planning commissions, community organizations, and energy and environmental nonprofits. Organizations interested in acting as Advisors will apply through an RFP. To complete their proposals, organizations will need to obtain buy-in from communities and include commitments in their proposed scopes of work. Organizations must demonstrate experience working with local governments. SolSmart prefers organizations with experience on solar-related issues, specifically those related to soft costs. Organizations would preferably use existing staff to serve communities, but there is also an opportunity to hire someone to serve as the Advisor if sufficient staff capacity does not exist.

To be competitive under this application, organizations should have a demonstrated track record of collaborating with communities. They should also possess relevant subject-matter expertise, existing staff capacity, and signed commitments from local governments wishing to be served by the organization. The most competitive applications will include the greatest number of communities, but this preference will be balanced with feasibility.

Through the organization-based RFP, SolSmart expects to select 6-15 organizations to serve as Advisors. The starting dates are flexible and could begin as early as July 2018, dependent on existing staff capacity and communities’ needs. SolSmart will provide awardees with training, as well as ongoing project management and technical assistance throughout their engagements.

SolSmart encourages interested organizations to review the RFP and join one of the upcoming webinars to learn more about the process (consult the schedule below).

Once again, applications for both pathways are due by June 4, 2018.

Webinar Schedule

  • April 9, 2018:
  • April 24, 2018:
    • Community-based application: 2pm ET (Register for the webinar here)
    • Organization-based RFP: 1pm ET (Register for the webinar here)
  • May 16, 2018:
    • Community-based application: 3pm ET (Register for the webinar here)
    • Organization-based RFP: 4pm ET (Register for the webinar here)

Application Timeline for Both Pathways (subject to change)

  • April 2: Application opens
  • April 9, 2018: Webinar for interested applicants (both pathways)
  • April 24, 2018: Webinar for interested applicants (both pathways)
  • May 16, 2018: Webinar for interested applicants (both pathways)
  • June 4, 2018 @ 12pm PDT: Application closes
  • June 4 – June 30, 2018: SolSmart will review applications
  • June 30, 2018: SolSmart will announce the awardees for both tracks