NYSEIA Joins Campaign to Launch Platform for Automated Approval of Project Permits
July 15, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
*** The National Renewable Energy Laboratory SolarAPP+ online tool helps local officials expedite approval of residential and commercial solar projects and reduces overall installation costs and timelines ***
NEW YORK, NY, July 15, 2021—The United States Department of Energy announced today the launch of an online permitting platform to accelerate approval of solar projects while maintaining integrity in the permitting process. SolarAPP+ was developed and built by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in consultation with a broad range of experts from businesses, trade groups, local governments, researchers, and code and safety organizations. The SolarAPP+ platform will cut the time and expense of going solar in the United States, where the cost of installation can be 2–3 times greater than in other advanced energy economies.
With today’s announcement, SolarAPP+ is now available for jurisdictions across the country to help them process solar installations more efficiently with a standardized high level of quality and safety. This efficiency gain and cost reduction is seen as critical for American energy consumers to achieve the rapid growth in solar that states like New York have targeted.
Solar customers will save money, while solar installers will have more clarity about the process, get more projects done, and contribute more to their local economies. Local government officials will be able to rely on quality assurance processes built into the online application tool with input from code and safety experts at organizations like Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the International Code Council (ICC), and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
NYSEIA joins 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 project is motivated by national data showing that local governments that use instant online permitting for rooftop solar projects can process 5–14 times more applications than jurisdictions with traditional permit processing. 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.
The NYSEIA SolarAPP+ campaign takes a multi-prong approach to improving rooftop solar permitting in New York: (i) adoption of SolarAPP+ in key Long Island jurisdictions that currently have a backlog in solar permits; (ii) adoption of "no-touch" permitting practices, including online and email application submissions, online and phone-based payment, and acceptance of electronic signatures; (iii) granting of conditional building permits; and (iv) allowing self-certification. NYSEIA also continues to advance statewide legislation which would expedite the permitting process and alleviate soft costs for solar developers and installers.
“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.”
“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.”
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Founded in 1994, New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA) is a trade association representing more than 150 solar energy firms in New York and is dedicated to advancing solar energy use and deployment across the state.
Executive Director, NYSEIA
For more information on the SolarAPP+ campaign and its partners, go to SolarAPPCampaign.org.
State and local officials who are interested in implementing this technology should visit: SolarAPP+ for Jurisdictions, https://solarapp.nrel.gov/jurisdictions/learn_more
Solar installers that want to learn more should visit: SolarAPP+ for Installers, https://solarapp.nrel.gov/installers/learn_more