The coronavirus pandemic has slowed down permitting for residential solar systems, leading to a renewed interest in an initiative led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Solar Foundation to develop automated permitting software that should speed the process at the local level.
The partners unveiled the Solar Automated Permit Processing, or SolarAPP, effort in 2018. Now they’re working on an expedited timeline to roll it out to a solar industry worried about declining installations and demand.
While the industry has always been eager to speed permitting and reduce soft costs, the difficulty of getting work done during the pandemic has prompted more jurisdictions to consider changing their traditional permitting processes, according to those involved with the SolarAPP effort.
“Change is not necessarily easy,” said Richard Lawrence, a program director at the Solar Foundation who heads that organization’s work on the SolarAPP. “This has forced some change.”