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SolSmart has announced the winners of the 2019 SolSmart Innovation Award. The 2019 SolSmart Innovation Award saw applications from a diverse group of communities showcasing their commitment to being at the forefront of innovation in issues such as solar+ storage, solar and EVs, solar for resilience, and similar fields.

Communities were judged based on their unique approaches or noteworthy actions that supported:

  1. Reducing soft costs beyond the scope of SolSmart criteria,
  2. Reducing time or complexity associated with solar permitting, inspection, or any other process,
  3. Increasing notable solar adoption in your community.
  4. Uniqueness or innovation

The 2019 Innovation Award Winners are as follows:

Go Solar Melrose: Big Roof Solar (Winner)

In launching “Go Solar Melrose: Big Roof Solar,” the City of Melrose became the first community in Massachusetts to implement a solar marketing and outreach campaign tailored for nonprofits, houses of worship, and small businesses, expanding access to solar beyond the residential market.

Earning SolSmart Designation Collaboratively (Winner)

Going above and beyond the SolSmart criteria for expanding access to affordable solar, the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus gathered specific information about existing permitting processes and developed a template permitting checklist to help candidates develop their requisite permitting checklist. This uniquely collaborative strategy brought SolSmart designations to 35 communities throughout the Chicago metropolitan area, earning Illinois the most SolSmart designations of any state.

Pittsburgh Unified School District: Bioswale Solar and Wind Generation Project (Honorable Mention)

The Pittsburgh Unified School District Bioswale Solar and Wind Generation Project outfitted an acre of land with solar panels and vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWT), with the capacity to generate more than 200 kilowatts (166 of which from solar) to service the needs of the District’s electric buses.  This innovative approach allows the bioswale to maintain its original purpose while also providing solar energy, serving a dual purpose on a single plot of land.

Basalt Vista Affordable Net Zero Energy Housing (Honorable Mention)

A product of multiple partners working in tandem, the Basalt Vista Affordable Net Zero Housing Program aims to establish an affordable and replicable model for developing a net-zero neighborhood. This project merits recognition for its level of uniqueness and innovation,  for the wide range of partnerships and support that have come together to make this ground-breaking project happen, its goal to be a net-zero affordable project, and the experimentation of testing new technology that will help the local utility reach its goal of 70% clean power by 2030.

SolSmart is proud to honor each of these communities for fostering innovative solar growth in their cities and counties.

For questions, please contact SolSmart at info@solsmart.org.