The standardization of the solar industry is crucial to its success. With a push towards cleaner, greener energy sources, ensuring a common data standard for all participants will allow the solar industry to achieve its potential, providing benefits to society as a whole.
One way to help standardize data and enable process automation in the solar industry is through the use of Solar Automated Permit Processing Plus. SolarAPP+ is an online permitting platform that helps streamline the permitting process for solar projects. The platform includes a library of standard permit templates that can be used by jurisdictions across the United States.
Improving solar permitting is a collaborative effort. This work is supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. NREL is working with a variety of partners, including those listed here, to deliver the SolarAPP+ online platform. The platform was created to help address the permitting challenges that solar installers and developers face, with the aim of decreasing the amount of time and complexity that inherently exists in the current fractured permitting processes used across thousands of AHJs (Authorities Having Jurisdiction).
To date, SolarAPP+ has been used to streamline the permitting process for thousands of solar installation projects. The platform has also been recognized by the Department of Energy as a Best Practice for Solar Permitting, and they are actively promoting and incentivizing adoption through programs such as the SolarAPP+ Prize, which rewards AHJs with up to $15,000 to lower the cost of adopting SolarAPP+.
How SolarAPP+ Works
SolarAPP+ provides local governments and Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) with a standardized permit application portal for receiving and processing information for residential and commercial solar storage systems. The standardizations can be incorporated into the existing processes and procedures currently used by approval authorities. The technology can assist approvers with electronically reviewing the relevant safety and building code compliance requirements. If all checks are in order, authorities can instantly approve applications, lessening the burden of manually reviewing applications.
The app also gives applicants access to a streamlined application submission form that includes all of the required information for a permit application. After an application has been submitted, applicants will receive updates and notifications on the status of their application via email or text message.
Is SolarAPP+ Mandatory?
On the 24th August, 2022 the Solar Access Act. SB 379, which mandates the use of SolarAPP+ or a similar type of online permitting tool, for California counties with over 150,000 residents. It is hoped that this legislation will pave the way for more states to introduce similar mandates, in an effort to improve the solar application process countrywide.
In other states, the use of SolarAPP+ is voluntary, but SEIA and NREL encourage its use. SEIA also offers a free SolarAPP+ Training Academy to help jurisdictions and developers learn how to use the platform. In the future, SolarAPP+ aims to be the gold standard when it comes to solar permit approval processes and hopes to achieve 100% penetration across every state.
What are the benefits of using SolarAPP+?
There are many benefits to using SolarAPP+, including the following:
The SolarAPP+ platform can save developers time by providing access to a library of pre-approved permit templates. This can help to reduce the amount of time spent on the permitting process, in some cases from months down to days.
SolarAPP+ can also help to decrease the costs associated with the permitting process. By using SolarAPP+, developers can avoid having to hire third-party consultants and expediters to manage the solar permit application process.
SolarAPP+ can help to make the permitting process more efficient by automating many of the tasks that are typically carried out manually. This includes tasks such as collecting signatures, sending notifications, and generating reports.
SolarAPP+ can help to improve the accuracy of solar permits by ensuring that all required information is captured and validated before the permit application is submitted. This can help to avoid delays and disruptions further down the line.
What’s next for SolarAPP+?
The SolarAPP+ platform is continually being updated and improved. NREL and the SolarApp+ working group are continually working on adding new features and functionality that will make the platform even more user-friendly and efficient. In the future, SolarAPP+ aims to be the go-to platform for all solar permit applications.
Why Standardization is Critical to the Success of Our National Climate Change Action Plan
The United States has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025, as part of the Paris Climate Agreement. In order to achieve this goal, it is critical that the solar industry is standardized to remove unnecessary roadblocks and red tape, allowing for greater and faster uptake of clean energy solutions.
Solar energy is a key component of our national climate change action plan. It is a clean, renewable resource that can help us to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and meet our climate change goals. SolarAPP+ is an important tool that can help us to achieve these goals adding a level of sophistication and simplicity that has never been seen before at scale.
SolarAPP+ is Partnering With All Industry Stakeholders to Create a New Normal in Solar Permitting
In order to achieve its goal of 100% penetration across the United States, SolarAPP+ is partnering with all industry stakeholders, including:
- Solar Technology Developers and Manufacturers
- Solar Installers and Contractors
- Utility Companies
- The Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs)
- The Electric Cooperatives (co-ops)
- The Public Utility Commissions (PUCs)
The Future is Shining Bright with SolarAPP+
The solar industry is booming and is expected to continue to grow exponentially in the coming years. SolarAPP+ is leading the way in simplifying and streamlining the solar permitting process, making it easier than ever for developers to get their projects off the ground.
With SolarAPP+, we are creating a new normal in solar permitting that will help to accelerate the deployment of solar energy across the United States and contribute to our national climate change goals.
About Blu Banyan
Blu Banyan is a boutique technology consulting firm that specializes in developing custom software solutions for the Solar industry using NetSuite- a leading cloud-based business management platform. We have a team of experienced developers and solar industry experts who are passionate about building innovative applications that make a difference to our world.
The US Department of Energy’s Orange Button Working Group, chaired by Blu Banyan, Sunspec Alliance and Sandia, seeks to create a commonly accepted data structure to aid in the development of solar industry focused applications and ease the process of integration through this standardization.
Blu Banyan is working with SolarAPP+ to create a seamless integration with SolarSuccess that will help solar installation companies to save time and money on their solar projects. We are also working with NREL to help promote the initiative.
If you are interested in learning more about SolarSuccess, SolarAPP+ or how we can help you with your solar company’s software solutions, please contact us today. We would be happy to discuss your specific needs and requirements.