PROJECT PROFILE: Folsom Labs (Incubator 10)

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Project Title: Solar Permit Generator
Funding Opportunity: SunShot Technology to Market (Incubator 10)
SunShot Subprogram: Technology to Market
Location: San Francisco, CA
Amount Awarded: $296,000
Awardee Cost Share: $301,925
Project Investigator: Paul Grana

Folsom Labs will develop a software-based Solar Permit Generator: a software engine that automatically generates many of the standard documents that inspectors and authority having jurisdictions (AHJs) require for solar arrays in their jurisdiction. This software will leverage much of the system design information already included in HelioScope, a design and engineering software platform offered by Folsom Labs. The project will leverage the industry-leading HelioScope sales and engineering software, extending it to be able to quickly and efficiently generate permit documents, including single-line diagrams, site plans, and design details. This tool will also leverage work being done by other organizations to harmonize code requirements – offering an important step to reduce the time required to deploy low-cost, high-performance, and safe solar arrays.

Approach

The project will begin with a comprehensive survey of permit practices across the US, with a particular eye toward regional differences or inspector/AHJ inconsistencies. The research team will then develop the software tools needed to automate the generation of the most important documents needed for filing permits. They will then verify the cost savings through real-world usage of the software tools on actual solar arrays to ensure that the quality of the results is suitable for AHJs. 

Innovation

This project represents a major reduction in the man-hours needed to deliver a solar array. At present, permit documents are generally hand-crafted in AutoCAD and other all-purpose software products. This requires significant repetition and customization from system to system. By integrating permit documents with core engineering software, Folsom Labs will be able to reduce the man-hours required for the permitting of solar arrays.