Garfield County wins gold from national SolSmart program

Garfield County has received a Gold designation from the national SolSmart program for making it faster, easier, and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar.

The SolSmart Gold designation recognizes the county for making common-sense regulatory reforms, such as making accessory solar systems a use by right in all major zones, offering online solar permitting and providing local incentives for solar systems.

Garfield County Community Development Director Sheryl Bower presents the SolSmart Gold Award to county commissioners, from left, Tom Jankovsky, John Martin and Mike Samson. Photo by Renelle Lott.

Garfield County is the third member of the Garfield Clean Energy collaborative to receive a SolSmart designation, following the towns of Carbondale and Silt. Nationally, more than 320 cities, counties, and small towns have achieved SolSmart gold, silver or bronze designations since the program launched in 2016.

“Our team is thrilled that we were able to work with Garfield County staff to achieve this certification, and this is just further demonstration that renewable energy is a priority across our whole county,” said Erica Sparhawk, deputy director of CLEER, the nonprofit that implements the programs for Garfield Clean Energy.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office, SolSmart recognizes cities and counties for cutting red tape and making solar more affordable and accessible for homes and businesses. According to SolSmart, gold-designated jurisdictions are signaling that they are “open for solar business,” helping to attract solar industry investment that generates economic development and jobs.