Following a collective campaign from a number of leading solar companies and state solar advocates across the country, the U.S. Department of Energy has launched a new online permitting platform.
What is SolarAPP+?
SolarAPP+ (Solar Automated Permit Processing+) will allow local governments to streamline reviews and approvals for residential solar permits, expediting the process while maintaining its integrity. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) developed the platform in conjunction with businesses, trade associations, local governments, researchers, and code & safety organizations.
Why SolarAPP+ Is Important
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has noted that, on average, $1 per watt—or $7,000 in total—is added to the cost of residential solar as a result of both direct and indirect permitting costs. For an average-sized residential solar system, that’s equivalent to about a third of the entire cost. In order to reduce these additional costs and boost the deployment of solar across the country, the solar permitting process must be streamlined, while still ensuring the reliability and safety of residential solar systems—this is where SolarAPP+ comes in.
The Benefits of SolarAPP+
SolarAPP+ will allow jurisdictions nationwide to process solar installations more efficiently, cutting the time and expense associated with going solar in the United States. This increased efficiency will be vitally important in the coming years as we strive towards the rapid growth of solar energy—which is necessary to meet the clean energy targets of the current administration. In fact, data has shown that local governments with instant online permitting platforms for rooftop solar are capable of processing 5 to 14 times more volume than those with traditional permit processing systems.
More importantly, adoption of SolarAPP+ across the country will directly benefit solar customers, solar installers, and local officials.
Solar customers will save money.
Solar installers will be better able to complete projects and contribute to local economies.
Local officials will be able to depend on the quality assurance processes built into the SolarAPP+ platform.
The SolarAPP+ Campaign
With these benefits in mind, it’s important that SolarAPP+ is rapidly adopted in cities nationwide. This is the mission of the SolarAPP+ Campaign, a collaboration between solar companies, state solar energy associations, clean energy advocates, and environmental organizations. This campaign aims to get 100 cities across America to adopt SolarAPP+ by summer 2022, with the ultimate goal of full nationwide adoption of the platform within 3 years.
Key Features of SolarAPP+
SolarAPP+ is a standardized plan review software capable of running compliance checks and processing building permit approvals for eligible rooftop solar systems. Some of its most notable features include:
Automated plan review, permit approval, and project tracking.
Standardization of up to 90% of standard system plans.
Inspection checklist verification and final sign-off following installation.
Integration with existing government software.
How Does SolarAPP+ Work?
Residential solar has grown increasingly popular over the years, and the volume of applications can become overwhelming for local jurisdictions. SolarAPP+ works to ease this burden, offering a more manageable approach to permitting by automating the review & approval process, ensuring system designs are safe and up to code.
SolarAPP+ comes at no cost to AHJs.
NREL will keep the platform up to date as code revisions and new technologies emerge.
The tool will increase the number of solar permits a local government can process without adding to the workload.
The streamlined process will lead to increased growth of residential solar and storage, creating new economic opportunities.
If you’re interested in going solar, reach out to YSG today. YSG has been operating in the solar industry for over ten years, working on everything from small rooftop residential projects to large-scale solar farms. To learn more about your solar options, call the office at 212.389.9215 or send us an email.
YSG Solar is a project development company responsible for commoditizing energy infrastructure projects. We work with long-term owners and operators to provide clean energy assets with stable, predictable cash flows. YSG's market focus is distributed generation and utility-scale projects located within North America.