DOE Officially Rolls Out Online Solar Permitting Tool for Local Governments
July 15, 2021
“By adopting SolarAPP+, cities can ramp up more solar in their communities, while improving the quality and safety of their permitting process. It will lead to more happy solar customers, less pollution, more jobs, and more local economic benefits,” said Andrew Birch and Anne Hoskins, Co-Chairs of the SolarAPP+ Campaign. “We’re excited to work with local officials and other stakeholders to advance this important new national standard and to advance the benefits of this new tool.”
To that end, a national group of solar companies, state solar energy associations, clean energy advocates, and environmental organizations in launching The SolarAPP+ Campaign to raise awareness and promote adoption of the platform. The SolarAPP+ Campaign supports state solar associations with a goal of getting more than 100 jurisdictions to adopt the new national standard by Summer 2022.
NYSEIA was one of the first to jump on this. The NYSEIA SolarAPP+ campaign, for example, takes a multi-prong approach to improving rooftop solar permitting in New York:
* Adoption of SolarAPP+ in key Long Island jurisdictions that currently have a backlog in solar permits;
* Adoption of “no-touch” permitting practices, including online and email application submissions, online and phone-based payment, and acceptance of electronic signatures;
* Granting of conditional building permits; and
* Allowing self-certification.
“Reducing administrative burdens for solar companies and their customers would expedite the process of installing solar and therefore reduce costs,” said Tara McDermott, Director of Stakeholder Relations at EmPower Solar and Chairperson of NYSEIA’s Long Island Solar & Storage Alliance. “A typical solar company on Long Island can spend a minimum of 10 staff-hours on permitting for each solar project, often waiting weeks for approval from some municipalities. By automating, standardizing, and digitizing the process, SolarAPP+ has the potential to save solar companies hundreds of hours each year completing paperwork, verifying code compliance, driving from town to town to file permits, disputing objections from building departments, resubmitting, picking up approved plans, and ultimately, finalizing a client’s building permit.”