For Immediate Release: January 17, 2024

Desira Blanchard
Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments   

(Waterbury, CT) – The Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments (NVCOG) received a Silver designation from the national SolSmart program for encouraging the growth of clean, affordable solar energy in their region. 

As a SolSmart Silver designee, NVCOG has adopted nationally recognized best practices to advance solar market growth. The region worked with SolSmart’s no-cost technical assistance team to increase local knowledge of and access to resources on solar energy for the benefit of the 19 communities they serve. 

SolSmart is led by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. Over 500 cities, towns, counties, and regional organizations have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016. 

NVCOG first achieved SolSmart Bronze designation last year and has now advanced to Silver designation by achieving additional SolSmart criteria. 

“Paving the way for clean energy in our region is one of the many ways we’re working to build sustainable communities throughout the Valley,” says Environmental Planning Director Aaron Budris. “By providing training and resources for our municipalities, we increase their capacity to handle the influx of solar development without putting unnecessary burdens on developers and residents.” 

To achieve SolSmart Silver designation, NVCOG has trained permitting and inspection staff on best practices for permitting solar energy and solar-plus storage systems. Their most recent training on solar inspections welcomed over 100 attendees from throughout the state, including stakeholders from private firms, academia, and tribal nations. NVCOG has also created a robust online solar hub with resources for municipalities, developers, and residents. It can be reached at These and other actions taken will make it faster, easier, and more affordable for local residents, businesses, and nonprofit organizations to install solar in this community.  

Regional and local governments achieve Solsmart designation by meeting established criteria that are based on national best practices for building solar-friendly communities. The SolSmart team of experts offers no-cost technical assistance and resources to help communities put these practices into action. Those that meet the criteria are designated SolSmart Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Bronze. Any city, town, county, and regional organization is eligible to join the program. Interested communities can learn more at 

Left to right: Rick Dunne (Executive Director), Christine O'Neill (Environmental Planner II), and Aaron Budris (Environmental Planning Director) stand with SolSmart Silver Plaque.