Although the cost of photovoltaic panels for residential buildings has dramatically decreased in the last decade, the time and cost involved in permitting, inspection, and interconnection still remain high. To help reduce these costs and speed up solar adoption, in 2018 the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) began building an advanced online permitting portal.
SolarAPP+ addresses this problem directly, making it easier for homeowners to gain access to solar. As a result, the tool helps homeowners save time, money, and frustration, and will ultimately help speed progress toward a carbon-free energy future. SolarAPP+ is a collaborative effort to foster rooftop solar adoption by making it easier for local governments overwhelmed by residential solar applications to quickly and safely approve most rooftop projects for installation.
In 2020 and 2021, The Last Kilometer supported NREL with an analysis of GreenLancer Energy's national data on permit rejections. This analysis supported NREL's product development and rollout by identifying key bottlenecks in the permitting process for solar and solar+storage installation.
NREL's pilot of SolarAPP+ produced impressive results. The software substantially reduces the time it takes to permit, inspect, and install residential solar panels. Notably, the study found that projects submitted through the SolarAPP+ platform were installed and inspected on average 12 business days faster than projects using the traditional process.
The Last Kilometer continues to support NREL and GreenLancer in SolarAPP+'s national rollout and future product development.