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The free SolarAPP+ tool is helping jurisdictions across the country to dramatically reduce solar permitting times.
Department of Energy

Solar Automated Permit Processing+, known as SolarAPP+, is a web-based platform that automates solar permitting for local governments and other authorities having jurisdiction. The Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) funded the initial development and commercialization of the SolarAPP+ tool in 2019 through an award to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). This collaborative effort fosters rooftop solar adoption by making it easier for local governments to quickly and safely approve standardized rooftop projects.

DOE is challenging 125 jurisdictions to sign up for SolarAPP+ before summer ends. Join the challenge here!

How It Works

SolarAPP+ provides local governments with a standard portal for receiving and processing permit information for residential solar and solar+storage systems. It can be incorporated into existing permitting systems used by jurisdictions. 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 it also will provide transparency into permitting timelines.

Why It's Important

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 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.

Learn More

Visit NREL’s SolarAPP+ website to learn more and adopt the platform for your community.

Learn more about SETO’s soft costs research, the basics of soft costs, and current funding programs.