Last May, the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory released its SolarAPP+ to assist installers with solar permits. The program, which is currently in use in nine communities in Arizona and California, has saved applicants invaluable time thanks to its error-catching system. As SolarAPP+ comes up on one year of use, more than 4,700 permits have been issued, amounting to more than 31 MW of approved power. Thousands of homes have been able to take advantage of renewables and many more households are looking to do the same. According to NREL data, four more communities are in various testing phases with SolarAPP+ and communities across the country have expressed interest in using the program.
Amber D’Ottavio, the vice president of product management for Accela, the software developer that created SolarAPP+, told Utility Drive recently that “this is just the beginning.” D’Ottavio envisions success stories like the more than 2,100 permits issued in Tucson will inspire other agencies, as will advancements within SolarAPP+ itself. At this juncture, SolarAPP+ is only available for residential use, but D’Ottavio told Utility Drive that Accela is already looking to expand its use to commercial and non-rooftop solar permits as well as expediting the overall permitting process so that applicants no longer have to print out their documents and can instead submit them digitally.