Today, the U.S. The Department of Energy announced the launch of a new online permitting platform to accelerate the approval of solar projects across the United States. The announcement was made during a roundtable with Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm.
SolarAPP+ was developed and built by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in consultation with a broad range of experts from businesses, trade groups, local governments, researchers, and code and safety organizations.
With today’s announcement SolarAPP+ is now being made available as a solution to cities across the country, to help jurisdictions process solar installations more efficiently and with a standardized high level of quality and safety. The platform combines fire, electrical, and structural specifications and can catch typos, errors and code issues instantly.
SolarAPP+ saves local governments time in scanning through paperwork and saves installers from restarting applications due to preventable errors. National data shows that local governments with instant online permitting for rooftop solar process 5-14x more volume than jurisdictions with traditional permit processing.
Local officials will be able to rely on quality assurance processes built into the online application tool with input from code and safety experts at organizations like Underwriters Laboratories, the International Code Council and the National Fire Protection Association.
Rooftop solar is a crucial aspect of decarbonization and will help municipalities and states in reaching their energy goals. In Colorado, rooftop solar is one of many renewable technologies that the state is employing to reach its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030.
“Since many local governments have very limited resources and staff, enabling this technology can really provide an advantage to help deliver on local climate and sustainability goals,” said Kim Burke, senior program manager at the Colorado Energy Office. “And, ultimately, our larger effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the state.”
Instantaneous permitting will also benefit the growing rooftop solar industry, The software creates greater clarity for solar installers, allowing them to get more projects done and contribute more to local economies. The cost savings can then be handed down to rooftop solar customers.
“By adopting SolarAPP+, cities can ramp up more solar in their communities, while improving the quality and safety of their permitting process. It will lead to more happy solar customers, less pollution, more jobs, and more local economic benefits,” said Andrew Birch and Anne Hoskins, Co-Chairs of the SolarAPP+ Campaign. “We’re excited to work with local officials and other stakeholders to advance the benefits of this new tool.”
The Colorado Solar & Storage Association has joined a group of solar companies, state solar energy associations, clean energy advocates, and environmental organizations to launch The SolarAPP+ Campaign to raise awareness about SolarAPP+ and promote its adoption. The campaign has set a goal to get 100 jurisdictions to adopt the new tool by next summer.
For more information on the campaign and its partners, go to SolarAPPCampaign.org