The US Department of Energy (DOE) has signed up a total of 127 local governments to a platform that allows them to instantly approve residential solar installation permits.
The DOE-developed, free web-based platform – the Solar Automated Permit Processing (SolarAPP+) tool – automates rooftop solar permitting for local governments and other authorities having jurisdiction.
It has announced a new challenge to get 60 more communities to improve their solar practices and get recognised through the SolSmart programme by March 2022.
The initiative provides selected communities free technical assistance to help streamline processes, such as planning, inspection and training, that make it quicker and easier to switch to solar.
According to the DOE, the cost of solar power has declined by 80% over the last decade and local governments have “tremendous influence” over the prospects for the growth of solar energy.
However, soft costs like unnecessary paperwork, red tape and other requirements increase costs and discourage solar companies from moving to an area – therefore, by streamlining them and take other steps to encourage development, DOE suggests it is supporting communities to become “open for solar business”.
Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm said: “Everyone has access to sunlight but not everyone has access to solar power—this Administration is committed to changing that.
“DOE’s SolarAPP+ tool and SolSmart programme are helping communities tear down barriers to clean energy and unlock the health and economic benefits of solar. We are challenging communities to increase solar deployment and providing them the tools they need to succeed.”