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American-Made Challenges

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SolarApp+ Prize

The SolarAPP+ Prize awards $15,000 to local governments to adopt SolarAPP+, an online permitting platform for code-compliant PV systems.

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stage:
Won
prize:
$1,000,000

This challenge is closed

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Summary

Today, solar energy accounts for about 3% of U.S. electricity, which means that to combat climate change, the nation’s solar capacity would likely need to grow by hundreds of gigawatts in the next 15 years—with hundreds, thousands, and even millions of solar projects nationwide requiring building permits.

But counties, cities, and incorporated towns and villages in the United States are drowning in paperwork associated with approving residential PV systems. As a result, solar permitting can be a major bottleneck for residential solar installations, slowing the adoption of solar energy. The challenge is to convert building-permit applications for residential solar systems to approved systems by the local jurisdiction that has authority for that process.

SolarAPP+ is a tool that can automate the solar permitting review process, free up community staff time, and deliver instant permits for code-compliant PV systems. While SolarAPP+ is free for communities to adopt, there are associated costs that arise during the implementation process.

The SolarAPP+ Prize was created to ease the burden of these costs for communities and to accelerate the adoption of SolarAPP+. It is a two-step competition that will award up to $1 million to incentivize communities to accelerate the adoption of SolarAPP+. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory will manage the prize program. Communities that are selected for the SolarAPP+ Prize—and implement SolarAPP+ by the specified deadline—will be able to receive $15,000.

The competition is open to all counties, cities, and any incorporated towns and villages in the United States that intend to adopt SolarAPP+ in the specified timelines. For more information, review the official prize rules.


Please review the official rules for the complete application process and instructions for competing.

If you want to receive updates on the prize or have any questions, please subscribe by using the contact feature on the HeroX platform or message us directly at

Timeline
Updates5

Challenge Updates

Twelve Communities Selected To Adopt Online Solar Permitting Platform—And Win $15,000 Each

Nov. 30, 2022, 2:57 p.m. PST by NREL Challenge

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announced 12 communities from across the country as winners of Step 1 of the American-Made Solar Automated Permit Processing Plus (SolarAPP+) Prize—a two-step competition to help communities adopt automated processing of residential solar permits, lowering costs and making solar more accessible for homeowners.

SolarAPP+ is a groundbreaking, time-saving tool that helps communities accelerate solar installation by instantly issuing permits for code-compliant residential rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems. The online platform was developed in collaboration with local governments, code-development organizations, and industry stakeholders to automate the solar permitting review process and free up community staff time.

Each of the communities selected during Step 1 of the SolarAPP+ Prize program has been determined to be eligible to adopt SolarAPP+. If they successfully adopt SolarAPP+ during Step 2 of the prize program, they will receive $15,000. Although SolarAPP+ is free for any community to use, the prize is designed to reward those communities that can adopt SolarAPP+ quickly.

To date, SolarAPP+ has approved nearly 13,000 permits across 31 jurisdictions. Communities that have adopted SolarAPP+ have saved more than 12,800 hours in plan review time, and projects are installed about two weeks faster, given that permits are issued instantly for code-compliant systems.

Learn about the 12 communities selected to adopt SolarAPP+.


Today: SolarApp+ Prize Step 1 Submissions due by 3 p.m. ET!

Nov. 4, 2022, 6:30 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Today is the deadline to submit your Step 1 application to the SolarApp+ prize. Make sure your full submission is uploaded no later than 3 p.m. ET today!

As a reminder, here’s what you need to submit: 

  • Questionnaire 
  • Letter of Commitment or Support 

The Step 1 submission form can be found on HeroX SolarApp+ Prize Homepage by clicking the “Solve This Challenge” button.

You must submit a Step 1 application to be eligible to move to Step 2, where selected teams will adopt the SolarApp+ tool and be eligible to win $15,000. For additional information, please see the official rules


SolarApp+ Prize Submissions Due This Friday!

Nov. 1, 2022, 9:22 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Don’t forget to submit your SolarApp+ Prize Step 1 Submissions by 3 p.m. ET on Friday, November 4!

With only a few days left until the SolarApp+ Step 1 submission deadline, now is the time to finalize your submission elements and get your application uploaded to HeroX. As a reminder, here’s what you need to submit: 

  • Questionnaire 
  • Letter of Commitment or Support 

The Step 1 submission form can be found on HeroX SolarApp+ Prize Homepage by clicking the “Solve This Challenge” button.

You must submit a Step 1 application to be eligible to move to Step 2, where selected teams will adopt the SolarApp+ tool and be eligible to win $15,000. For additional information, please see the official rules


SolarApp+ Informational Webinar Recording Posted + ICC Webinar 10/11

Sept. 30, 2022, 6:16 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Hi SolarApp+ Prize Community,

Thank you for joining us for the September 27 SolarApp+ Prize informational webinar! The webinar recording and slides are now available. If you couldn’t attend the webinar or would like a refresher, watch the recording for an overview of the SolarApp+ tool and prize submission requirements and scoring criteria. 

If you would like to join a live webinar, we will be holding another SolarApp+ Prize Informational Webinar hosted by ICC on October 11 at 1pm ET – Register today!

Have questions? Share them in the public forum to gather feedback from the community and prize administrator. Or reach out to

-The SolarApp+ Prize team 

 PS – don’t forget that the Step 1 submission deadline is November 4th at 3pm ET!


Join us TOMORROW for the SolarApp+ Prize Information Webinar!

Sept. 26, 2022, 3:40 p.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Hey Innovators,

Join us tomorrow for this informational webinar covering everything you need to know about applying for the SolarAPP+ Prize. We’ll provide an overview of submission requirements, how to apply, and scoring criteria. Participants will also have an opportunity to ask questions.

 

The SolarAPP+ Prize was created to accelerate the adoption of SolarAPP+, an online platform that instantly issues permits for code-compliant residential photovoltaic systems. Authorities having jurisdiction are encouraged to apply for this prize, which offers funding to help offset the costs of adoption.  

 


 


Forum1
Teams103
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