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How The AHJ Registry is Helping to Streamline the Solar Permitting Process

How Blu Banyan’s SolarSuccess Business Software Is Helping to Streamline the Solar Permitting Process For Solar Installers & Developers.

The AHJ Registry is an online database of information regarding local permitting requirements for new PV Solar installation projects. It was created by the SunSpec Alliance in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in an attempt to streamline the way the industry communicates, reports and defines who is responsible for application approval.

The AHJ Registry streamlines the application process by allowing solar developers to search for and compare local permitting requirements across the United States. This saves time and money by reducing the need for solar installers who operate across different counties to manually research who is the correct AHJ for their client’s proposed solar installation projects. This helps to ensure that solar installers are sending applications to the correct AHJ based on the results provided by a simple address search in the registry.

In the long term, the AHJ Registry will also be able to provide valuable data to policymakers, solar developers, and other stakeholders interested in understanding local solar permitting trends and best practices which will help to shape future policy and initiatives in line with the Biden Government’s new Anti-inflation and climate change initiatives.

What is the Meaning of the AHJ Registry?

AHJ stands for authority having jurisdiction and is a collective term for the various country and state-based authorities who are responsible for evaluating and approving solar installation applications. AHJ does not refer to a single entity; rather, it is a descriptive term for any authority who is required to approve solar applications, which in recent years has become an incredibly complex and time-consuming process.

Why are AHJ’s so slow?

The main reason why AHJs are so slow is because they are overwhelmed with applications. In the past 5 years, the number of residential solar installations has increased tenfold, and the number of commercial installations has increased twentyfold. This explosion in growth has strained the resources of many local permitting offices, resulting in longer processing times for solar permits.

Also, many AHJs are still relying on paper-based application processes which significantly increases the amount of time required to review and check each application. By giving AHJs access to digital tools to streamline processes, we can hopefully start seeing a shift in various AHJs digital transformation that will lead to more efficient processes that embrace modern cloud technology.

How will the Authority Having Jurisdiction Registry help?

The AHJ Registry was designed to help solar installers quickly and easily answer the question: Who is My County or AHJ for Solar Permitting? The AHJ Registry, combined with other solar industry standardization efforts such as the Orange Button Initiative and SolarAPP+ (Solar Automated Permit Processing Plus) will lead to a far more streamlined and clear application process for new solar installations. The goal is to create a digital network of integrated applications to automate and streamline the checks that need to be made on each application to ensure compliance and safety.

What does SolarAPP+ Do?

SolarAPP+ is an online application that helps solar contractors submit permit applications to the correct AHJ. It automates much of the data entry and paperwork required for a permit application, which saves time and reduces the chances of errors.

What is the Orange Button Initiative?

The Orange Button Initiative started as a public/private partnership funded by the  U.S. Department of Energy, the SunSpec Alliance and more that 350 companies – including Blu Banyan – that contributed to its development. Orange Button capitalizes on the idea that commercial enterprises in the solar industry will share data with each other in order to achieve operational efficiency and financial gain. The SunSpec Alliance is the original developer of the technology and the sole licensee of the Orange Button trademark.

The Orange Button Initiative will make it easier for solar developers to submit data to AHJs, financiers, and other stakeholders in a consistent format. This will save time and reduce the chances of errors in the permit requirements application process.

The Orange Button initiative will also provide a framework for simpler integrations as it seeks to standardize data endpoints and naming conventions across a wide range of digital technologies.

The Benefits of the AHJ Registry and SolarAPP+

Provides a flexible, web-based PV-permitting tool for residential systems at no-cost to AHJs.

SolarAPP+ will provide a modern cloud-based infrastructure to help streamline the process of reviewing and approving solar applications for all AHJs. So far, SolarAPP+ has helped process over 2000 residential solar permits across 10 jurisdictions. The service is provided at no cost to AHJs and promises to help reduce the time an application takes to approve and clear some of the application backlog that has been created due to an increase in demand for solar power in recent years.

Enables AHJs to receive, review, and approve permit application packages electronically.

SolarAPP+ will provide AHJs with a more functional and manageable way to receive, review and approve solar application permits. With the aim of standardizing the process across all counties, SolarAPP+ promises a much-needed improvement to an antiquated system.

Eliminates data entry errors and omissions often found in paper-based permit processes.

The standardization of terminology across these new digital systems, as well as the integrated nature of their databases, means that the risk of data entry errors holding up an application is significantly lower.

Reduces the time it takes to issue permits by an estimated 50-70%.

The time savings that SolarAPP+ promises are significant and will be a huge help to AHJs who are struggling to keep up with the demand for solar permits. Initial estimates indicate that AHJs can expect to be able to complete the entire solar application approval process in as little as 30% of the time currently being reported by some AHJ’s.

Modern Technology that Integrates to Solar Business Management Software

The AHJ Registry will be integrated with the popular SolarAPP+ (Solar Automated Permit Processing Plus) software used by solar contractors to submit permit applications. This technology can and already has been integrated into some leading solar business management software packages, such as Blu Banyan’s software SolarSuccess.

Facilitates Standardization Across Jurisdictions

Whilst still a future goal, the AHJ Registry, and SolarAPP+, together with the Orange Button initiative, form the groundwork for a future where the solar industry can implement standardized terminology, conventions, and permitting processes across all states.

The Future of Solar Permitting

 The AHJ Registry, SolarAPP+, and the Orange Button Initiative are three important initiatives that are helping to streamline the solar permitting process. These initiatives will save time and money for solar developers and help to ensure that new solar installations are safe and compliant with all applicable codes and standards.

Modern technology is playing an increasingly important role in simplifying and improving the solar permitting process. The AHJ Registry is a great example of how technology can be used to improve efficiency and reduce errors in the permit application process.

About Blu Banyan

Blu Banyan is a full-service solar software development firm that has been helping solar installation companies to streamline their IT ecosystem and get ready for rapid growth. We are committed to helping our clients navigate the complexities of the solar industry with features and modules that are designed specifically for these businesses.

Our goal is to provide our clients with the tools they need to succeed in the solar industry. Our software development team has years of experience in building software for businesses in a variety of industries. We understand the challenges that businesses face when trying to scale quickly and we have the experience and expertise to help them overcome these challenges.

If you are interested in learning more about how Blu Banyan can help your solar business, please contact us today. We would be happy to discuss your specific needs and requirements and provide you with a demonstration of our award winning software.

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