Solar is becoming an increasingly popular option for communities and regions looking to diversify their energy supply, especially as the price of solar installations has continued to decrease. The SolSmart team works free of charge with communities and regions around the country to obtain Gold, Silver, and Bronze designations by incorporating best practices for solar planning, zoning, permitting, and inspection. SolSmart also offers a Regional Organization Pathway that recognizes organizations facilitating progress across jurisdictions to assist multiple municipalities and counties as they advance solar energy growth.
In August 2021, the NADO Research Foundation and National Association of Regional Councils hosted the webinar “A Brighter Energy Future for Regions: An Introduction to SolSmart’s Regional Organization Pathway” that covered the basics of SolSmart and the Regional Pathway. The session included a presentation from staff at the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) who provided an overview of the SolSmart program and its benefits, as well as remarks from staff at the New River Valley Regional Commission in southwest Virginia, who shared their experiences in achieving Bronze designation this past year.
Joe McKinney serves as Executive Director of the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO). Headquartered in Washington DC, NADO provides advocacy, education, research, and training for the nation’s 500+ regional planning and development organizations.
Joe has thirty-one years of experience having served in city, county, regional, national association, and government management since 1991. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Analysis from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a candidate for a master’s degree in Public Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill.
McKinney has provided congressional testimony on numerous occasions regarding the importance of regional development organizations in helping shape the nation’s economic growth. He is nationally recognized for promoting innovative solutions in areas such as planning and economic development, workforce development, transportation and transit, and aging services.