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 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.
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.