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

SARASOTA — Sarasota County’s efforts to encourage the growth of solar energy use have earned it a “Silver” designation from the national SolSmart program.

SolSmart, a federally funded nonprofit and government partnership, recognized the county for “taking bold steps to encourage solar energy growth and remove obstacles to solar development,” according to a news release.

“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 Sarasota County UF/IFAS Extension and Sustainability, in the release. “Supporting solar growth is important to our sustainability goals and commitments.”

Through programs and policies designed to educate about the technology and encourage home and business owners to implement it, the county is promoting energy saving while driving economic development, which creates jobs.

SolSmart recognizes communities based on the actions they take to reduce barriers to solar energy development, awarding a gold, silver or bronze designation.

Sarasota County ranked high in 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, according to the release.

It also scored points for community engagement and solar training events, including ones offered by Sarasota County Extension.

SolSmart is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. More than 370 cities, counties, and small towns have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016, the release states.

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


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