City of Benicia Releases SolarAPP+

This week, the City of Benicia, CA became one of only a handful of pioneers in California to launch SolarAPP+, an automated application for permitting new residential rooftop solar and storage systems. SolarAPP+ will lower costs and expedite solar installations, encouraging property owners to invest in generating renewable and sustainable energy. By using artificial intelligence, SolarAPP+ makes it possible to obtain a residential solar permit in as little as 15 minutes, entirely online.

Research has shown lowering the cost and increasing the speed of rooftop solar installation can have a significant impact on a system’s cost. Solar installation in the United States currently costs twice as much as in countries like Germany and Australia, despite similar wages and equipment costs. The difference is caused partly due to costs like interest on home equity loans and other costs incurred while waiting for applications to be processed. For a solar customer, these added expenses can amount to as much as $5,000 for a typical residential solar system. SolarAPP+ helps governments and providers cut rooftop solar permitting costs. Developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy, SolarAPP+ provides a web-based portal that streamlines and automates permit reviews.

“Rooftop solar and battery storage systems not only save money to customers, but can save lives in an emergency power shutoff situation, “ said Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa), who serves on the Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Communications and Joint Committee for Emergency Management. “With the launch of SolarAPP+, the City of Benicia is poised to lead the way in solar and storage adoption, and I look forward to other jurisdictions throughout my district and the state following its lead.”

The number of SolarAPP+ adopters is projected to quickly expand in the coming years on the heels of the California state budget, signed by Governor Gavin Newsom last July, including $20 million for technical assistance targeted for local jurisdictions planning to adopt expedited permitting software such as SolarAPP+.

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