ORIGINAL REPORTING: A Tool For Building Solar Faster And Cheaper
NREL Software Tool Expedites Clogged Solar Queues, Increases Revenue
Herman K. Trabish, July 19, 2021 (California Current)
The rooftop solar industry announced a major step forward in its longstanding effort to bring down project installation costs with a new app that automates the complicated and time-consuming permit application process for rooftop solar and solar-plus-storage.
This SolarAPP+ was developed by the U.S. Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Early uses have streamlined the time and cut costs for installers, their customers, and the jurisdictions that control permitting, inspections, and interconnections. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said rooftop solar applications “jumped six-fold” when San Jose adopted it.
This tool could shorten installation delays and improve the 17% installer profit margin by reducing the cost of permitting and inspections, California Solar and Storage Association Senior Policy Advisor Igor Tregub added in an email to Current. It is especially important with the state’s new push to make the benefits of distributed resources more accessible in low- and working-class communities.
It will help California reach its climate goals “more quickly and cost-effectively” by reducing the cost and complexities of solar, allowing more homeowners to participate,” Sen. Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) said. Weiner’s SB 617 requires jurisdictions to adopt SolarApp+ and provides $20 million in state funding for that purpose. It passed the California Senate but has been held by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
SolarAPP+ is needed to make installing rooftop solar with or without storage more “friction-free and consumer-friendly,” California Energy Commission Chair David Hochschild agreed.
County and city leaders should quickly adopt this new tool, Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm urged during the July 15 webinar previewing SolarApp+… click here for more