AMES, Iowa — July 20, 2021 — The City of Ames and ForeFront Power, a provider of renewable energy solutions, today announced that the SunSmart Ames community solar project received a Top Project of the Year Award in the elite Environment + Energy Leader Awards program. The win is an indication that the program’s expert judges consider SunSmart Ames a top example of the exemplary work being done today in the fields of energy and environmental management.

The City of Ames set out to develop SunSmart Ames, the City’s first community solar farm, to drive renewable energy adoption and demonstrate its commitment to sustainability within the Ames community. The community solar project allows any municipal electric customer to opt for locally-generated solar energy by purchasing shares of the facility’s production called “Power Packs.” Ames City Council selected ForeFront Power to develop SunSmart Ames, representing over 2 MW of solar energy dedicated to the local Ames community. Each Power Pack represents 175 W of generating capacity and entitles customers to a monthly bill credit for 20 years, through a one-time investment of $300. The Power Packs have established solar energy as a new type of community currency, purchased and donated among a diverse mix of local community members. Over the next 20 years, the SunSmart community solar program is expected to produce enough electricity to power 440 Ames homes each year, offset 113 million car miles and reduce the city’s CO2 emissions by about 57,000 tons.

One judge said of SunSmart: “This is a very useful project and helps promote green projects by those who may not otherwise be able to support their own independent projects

Another added, “Great community-driven project that has resulted in so much diverse support. The Power Packs structure is unique, creative, and benefits are simple to understand.

The Environment + Energy Leader Awards is a program recognizing excellence in products and services that provide companies with energy and environmental benefits, and in projects implemented by companies that improved environmental or energy management and increased the bottom line.

“With a very experienced and critical judging panel and a strict set of judging criteria, entrants faced an extremely high bar to qualify for an award in 2021” says Sarah Roberts, Environment + Energy Leader publisher.

About City of Ames

Beneath the small-town charm of Ames, Iowa, beats the heart of a much larger city. With a population of more than 65,000, Ames offers cultural, recreational, educational, business, and entertainment amenities more common in bigger metros. As a growing city, Ames continues to focus on building a strong community filled with opportunities for all. In addition to winning numerous awards for being a progressive, innovative, and exciting community, Ames has been recognized locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally for its schools, creativity, commitment to the environment, and numerous amenities. Offering an unsurpassed quality of life, Ames, Iowa is your Smart Choice! For more information, visit

About ForeFront Power

ForeFront Power is a leader in the United States for solar and energy storage solutions. The ForeFront Power team holds more than a decade of experience working together across nearly one gigawatt-DC (GW) of renewable electricity, spanning more than 1,300 distributed generation and community solar projects. Serving business, the public sector, and community solar customers in the U.S. and Mexico, ForeFront Power is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in New York City and Mexico City. ForeFront Power is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsui & Co. Ltd., a global energy infrastructure and investment leader with a robust balance sheet and an “A” credit rating from Standard & Poor’s. For more information, visit

About the Environment + Energy Leader Awards

For nearly a decade, the Environment + Energy Leader Awards have celebrated excellence in the world of environmental, sustainability, and energy management. Award winners are truly buzz-worthy, and companies that sport a Top Project or Top Product of the Year Award badge are known to be the best of the best. When other companies are seeking a sustainability or energy management solution, they know that E+E Product of the Year Award winners offer a significant group of products, vetted by experts, to peruse for help in making their decisions. Project of the Year Award winners are known to illustrate how sustainability and energy management projects can successfully help other companies improve the bottom line.