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SolSmart Program Management

Cooperative Agreement to a USA Agency, Tribe, For-Profit, IHE, or
Nonprofit to Expand Solar Energy Programs Throughout the Country

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) - Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)

Conf. Date:


LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

08/17/21 5:00 PM ET


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Cooperative agreement to a USA or territory agency, Tribe, for-profit, IHE, or nonprofit organization to expand solar energy programs throughout the country. Applicants must submit an LOI prior to a full application and ensure that required registrations are finalized. The program is intended for the applicant to manage local government efforts to reduce the cost of solar in their communities, stimulate local solar market development, and reach local decarbonization and clean energy goals.

This Funding Opportunity Announcement creates a competitive opportunity for applicants to manage SETO’s existing SolSmart program. SolSmart is a national community designation program that recognizes communities for making it easier and faster to install solar energy. The program provides local governments with technical assistance to improve their permitting, inspection, and zoning processes, and take other steps to reduce soft costs. The current awardee’s period of performance is coming to an end, and SETO will compete the opportunity to take on management of the program. Applicants will also propose ways to further develop the program to incorporate new emerging technologies, support under-resourced communities, measure program impacts, and contribute to the Biden Administration’s equity and climate goals. 

The activities to be funded under this FOA will support the government-wide approach to the climate crisis by driving the innovation that can lead to the deployment of clean energy technologies, which are critical for climate protection. Specifically, this funding program will help to reduce the soft costs of solar energy deployment—those costs not associated with the hardware—which account for up to 64% of the upfront cost of a residential solar installation. 

This FOA seeks an entity to manage and expand DOE’s SolSmart program, which supports and recognizes local governments that reduce soft costs and expand access to solar energy. This community designation and technical assistance program was launched in 2016 and has recognized almost 400 communities from Florida to Alaska. Now, DOE is expanding the program to incorporate new solar-related technologies and respond to the evolving needs of local governments. 

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 196086

Number of Grants:

EERE anticipates making one (1) award under this FOA. EERE may issue one, multiple, or no awards.

Estimated Size of Grant:

An individual award may vary between $8 million and $10 million.

Term of Contract:

The chosen entity will manage the program for the next five years.


  • City or township governments
  • County governments
  • For profit organizations other than small businesses
  • Independent school districts
  • Indian housing authorities
  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  • Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
  • Public housing authorities
  • See RFP and/or Grant Guidelines for full eligibility
  • Small businesses
  • Special district governments
  • State governments
  • Individuals

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Funding Restrictions can be found starting at page 42 of the FOA. See Supporting Documents, below.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Informational Webinar 05/18/2021 1:00 p.m. ET

EERE will conduct one informational webinar during the FOA process. It will be held after the initial FOA release but before the due date for Concept Papers. Attendance is not mandatory and will not positively or negatively impact the overall review of any applicant submissions. As the webinar will be open to all applicants who wish to participate, applicants should refrain from asking questions or communicating information that would reveal confidential and/or proprietary information specific to their project.

Pre-Application Information:

- FOA Issue Date: 05/04/2021
- Informational Webinar 05/18/2021 1:00 p.m. ET
- Submission Deadline for Letter of Intent: 06/08/2021 5:00 p.m. ET
- Submission Deadline for Concept Papers: 06/15/2021 5:00 p.m. ET
- Submission Deadline for Full Applications: 08/17/2021 5:00 p.m. ET
- Expected Date for EERE Selection Notifications: October 2021
- Expected Timeframe for Award Negotiations: October-December 2021

Applicants are responsible for meeting each submission deadline. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their Letters of Intent, Concept Papers, and Full Applications at least 48 hours in advance of the submission deadline.

Questions must be submitted not later than 3 business days prior to the application due date and time.

Each applicant (unless the applicant is an individual or federal awarding agency that is excepted from those requirements under 2 CFR §25.110(b) or (c), or has an exception approved by the federal awarding agency under 2 CFR §25.110(d)) is required to: (1) Be registered in the SAM at before submitting its application; (2) provide a valid DUNS number in its application; and (3) continue to maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active federal award or an application or plan under consideration by a federal awarding agency. DOE may not make a federal award to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable DUNS and SAM requirements and, if an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time DOE is ready to make a federal award, the DOE will determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a federal award and use that determination as a basis for making a federal award to another applicant.

Cost sharing is encouraged, but not required under this FOA.

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Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

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Questions regarding the content of the FOA must be submitted to:

For questions related to the Exchange Website, submit to:

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

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