Cumbersome, time-consuming, and dear photo voltaic allowing has been a serious block to larger rooftop solar energy adoption for many years. At the same time as photo voltaic panel prices got here down and photo voltaic allowing was streamlined in different international locations, the USA lagged behind in one of the vital elementary parts of the “going photo voltaic” course of. Then it arrived (a bit late) to the “there’s an app for that” social gathering. Simply earlier than the launch of SolarAPP+, I interviewed Amber D’Ottavio, Vice President of Product Administration at Accela, who was one of many core folks launching the app in 2021 and shepherding it by means of to the place it’s as we speak. I nonetheless suggest that interview for a deep dive into the matter, in addition to a more moderen one Jo Borras performed together with her for an replace. See right here (my interview first, Jo’s second):
The information as we speak, because the headline exhibits, is that greater than 10,000 photo voltaic permits have now been processed by means of SolarAPP+ (10,270 as of the newest replace from UL Options), and 27 communities are actually utilizing it. In whole, 59,350 kilowatts (or 59.35 megawatts) of rooftop solar energy have been unleashed by means of SolarAPP+. And the adoption price is simply rising.
Estimating an hour saved for every allow, UL Options, presumes that the photo voltaic allowing app has saved folks 10,270 hours of allowing evaluation time. UL Options developed the app alongside the U.S. Division of Vitality’s Nationwide Renewable Vitality Laboratory (NREL).
UL Options highlights its standout metropolis to be used of the rooftop photo voltaic allowing app, Tucson, Arizona. “The Metropolis of Tucson, Arizona, has already issued 3,587 permits utilizing SolarAPP+, leading to 21,584 kilowatts authorized and an estimated 3,659 hours saved on preliminary allow critiques.”
“Providing our photo voltaic installers a solution to self-permit expedites the method,” mentioned Carla Blackwell, director of Pima County, Arizona, Improvement Companies. “Pima County and the Metropolis of Tucson had been early adopters of SolarAPP+. The allow course of used to take a number of days, or weeks in some circumstances, however permits can now be issued the identical day an utility is submitted utilizing SolarAPP+.”
So, the app is working. It’s one factor to develop and launch an app. It’s one other for the app to work nicely, get rave critiques, and get broadly adopted. Although, it appeared clear from the start that SolarAPP+ would certainly be a winner.
Right here’s only a bit extra in regards to the app for many who need some extra particulars on what it entails and why it’s so helpful: “Combining the expertise and technical know-how of NREL, UL Options and trade companions with information from collaborating native authorities and code officers shaped the premise for the standardized plan evaluation software program. The software program can run compliance checks and automate constructing allow approvals for eligible residential rooftop photo voltaic power programs in a matter of minutes. It may additionally standardize as much as 90% of system plans.”
“UL Options helps SolarAPP+ as an vital enabler of safer and cleaner power. SolarAPP+ compliance checks are standardized and automatic so that allows for certified tasks will be issued on the identical day, assuaging the executive burden on the native authorities. We’re working collectively with the NREL, the photo voltaic trade and municipalities to allow a sooner, extra environment friendly platform that bridges the hole between security, compliance and residential renewable power by means of SolarAPP+,” mentioned Ken Boyce, senior director of principal engineering within the Testing, Inspection and Certification group at UL Options.
Maybe we should always interview Ken or Carla subsequent.