SolarApp and local permitting

As summer winds down, we wanted to provide some updates and recent news related to SolarAPP and local permitting, and make sure you’re aware of key upcoming opportunities to continue engaging with this important program.

First and foremost, there have been a number of funding announcements for this program:

  • $500k from the DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office to NREL and partners to perform research on permitting process trends, cycle times, and cancellations.
  • $695k from the DOE Office of Technology Transitions Technology Commercialization Fund to NREL to begin work on the SolarAPP software platform.
  • $695k of in-kind contributions from the solar industry to match the DOE OTT investment.

These investments, totaling nearly $1.9 million, will be critical in beginning the foundational work to create a streamlined permitting process for solar nationwide. You can read more about the funding announcements and related news coverage here. 

In addition to establishing key funding, a number of news stories have cropped up over the last few months related to solar permitting, demonstrating progress in a number of jurisdictions across the country. We look forward to continuing to build on this momentum as we work with AHJs to pilot and implement the SolarAPP platform.

  • Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the American Energy Opportunity Act, which will provide voluntary assistance and tools to local governments to simplify, standardize, and automate clean energy permitting. A House companion bill is expected to be introduced soon. Previously, Senator Collins and Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) sent a letter to Assistant Secretary of Energy Dan Simmons in support of solar soft cost reduction funding. 
  • In a Fox 5 Las Vegas story on July 25, the city’s new video inspection program was highlighted, including an interview with a Sunrun employee voicing his support for this innovative tool, saying the video inspections “actually help me do my job better.”
  • COSSA announced their new “Solar and Storage Friendly Communities” campaign, which will provide rankings and rewards for AHJs that improve their solar and storage permitting processes.
  • A Triple Pundit article on July 5, Cost of Rooftop Solar Power Set for Another Steep Plunge, covered the funding announcements and other program updates, noting that “there is some heavy firepower behind the campaign to bring SolarApp into being.”