A free online platform developed by the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) that automates the permitting process for residential rooftop solar.
Solar Automated Permit Processing+ (SolarAPP+) is a free online platform based in the United States that automates the permitting process for residential rooftop solar. The app standardizes requirements and checks for safety and compliance on the spot to instantly catch code issues, typos, and errors. Overall, it cuts down the permitting process by at least 5 to 10 business days, resulting in less wait time and more solar.
The Department of Energy (DOE) funded the initial development and commercialization of the SolarAPP+ tool in 2019 via the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). This effort encouraged rooftop solar adoption by making it easier for local governments to quickly and safely approve standardized rooftop projects. NREL published a report on the first year of SolarAPP+ that details the performance and impact of SolarAPP+ on participating communities.
SolarAPP+ provides local governments with a standard portal for receiving and processing permit information for residential solar and solar+storage systems which can be incorporated into existing systems. The portal conducts an automated permitting review for safety and code compliance, enabling local governments that adopt the tool to approve solar permits instantly. SolarAPP+ provides solar developers with a streamlined form that includes all the required specifications for permit applications and will provide transparency into permitting timelines.
Reviewing and approving solar permitting applications requires time and resources for local governments. The sheer volume of solar permitting applications can cause a backlog and slow down solar deployment. Some local governments use paper permit applications, which can further delay the time it takes to install rooftop solar for customers.
SolarAPP+ can help to reduce this workload while accelerating solar deployment. SolarAPP+ allows developers to check the code compliance of designs before submitting them for permit approval. Eligible permits are approved through automated code compliance checks while more technically complex systems are re-routed for manual review. Instant permitting enables contractors to speed up installation. Additionally, SolarAPP+ has the potential to significantly expand access to solar and battery technology and reduce soft costs associated with the installation process.