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+.