Sarasota County earns SolSmart ‘silver’ honor for success in promoting use of solar energy

Honor recognizes ‘bold steps’ to encourage adoption of the technology

Workers install solar panels on the roof of the UF/IFAS Extension office in Sarasota County. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Sarasota County has earned a “silver” designation from the national SolSmart program “for making it faster, easier, and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar,” the county has announced.

SolSmart, a federally funded nonprofit, has recognized Sarasota County “for taking bold steps to encourage solar energy growth and remove obstacles to solar development,” a news release says.

“Sarasota County is honored to receive an award that shows our commitment to renewable solar energy for our community,” said Sara Kane, sustainability program supervisor with the Sarasota County University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension and Sustainability Program, in the release. “Supporting solar growth is important to our sustainability goals and commitments.”

Sarasota County staff has worked to educate the public about solar power, including the facts that the technology serves as a clean energy source and that it can save property owners money, the release adds. “Encouraging local homeowners and businesses to obtain affordable, clean, and reliable electricity through solar also can support local solar companies, driving economic development and creating jobs,” the release points out.

“SolSmart uses objective criteria to award communities points based on the actions they take to reduce barriers to solar energy development,” the release continues. Communities that take sufficient action earn gold, silver, or bronze designation, the release notes.

“Sarasota County scored high marks for permitting, planning, zoning and community education processes related to solar energy adoption, showing an overall commitment to reducing soft costs and barriers to solar adoption,” the release explains. SolSmart also noted the county’s community engagement and its array of solar training events (including those offered by Sarasota County Extension at this link.

SolSmart is led by The Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association, the release says. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office.

More than 370 cities, counties, and small towns have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016, the release adds.

This map on the SolSmart website shows the locations of communities it has honored. Image from the SolSmart website

For more information about solar energy adoption in Sarasota County, contact Sara Kane at 941-518-3421 or