Cities and counties across the U.S. are committed to curbing emissions and generating clean, local power through bold sustainability goals and targets. However, bureaucratic procedures don’t always work as fast as we all would like, especially when it comes to adding solar. 

As solar companies are very aware, every jurisdiction in the U.S. has its own process and requirements for permitting. This results in many inefficiencies within the permitting process for homeowners, solar companies, and the local jurisdictions. On average, it takes a week or longer to receive approval on a new solar project in the United States. Finally, there’s a solution to address this challenge.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) developed SolarAPP+ to change how the country handles rooftop solar permits. Through a rigorous, collaborative effort with code officials, authorities having jurisdiction, and the solar industry, NREL has developed a standardized plan review software that can run compliance checks and instantly process building permit approvals for routine rooftop solar installations. This translates into saving tons of time and staff resources for permitting departments and solar installers alike.

To submit a residential solar project for review, solar permitting staff answer a series of questions related to the structure, the PV system, equipment, and compliance. No plan sets or one-line diagrams will be submitted. SolarAPP+ will perform backend, automated calculations to ensure that the system is code compliant. Upon permit approval, SolarAPP+ creates a customized inspection checklist for their inspector to use onsite once the system is installed. This new system cuts down on permitting time by at least 5-10 days. 

To showcase this powerful tool for the residential solar industry, HeatSpring is launching a new free course – Streamlining Solar Permitting with SolarAPP+. In this free course, students will learn more about why SolarAPP+ was developed, walk through a technical demonstration to learn how the process works for a solar installer, hear from local jurisdictions who’ve implemented the SolarAPP+ platform, and learn next steps.