Sunrise brief: Accela teams with NREL to launch SolarAPP+ for agencies and governments


Accela, a provider of cloud-based solutions for government, announced a new partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to launch SolarAPP+ (Solar Automated Permit Processing Plus), a new instant online solar permitting platform for residential solar energy and battery projects.

The software-as-a-service will be rolled out to 1,500 agencies and made available to Accela’s current state and local customers. The tool is designed to speed solar permitting timelines from an average of two weeks to instantaneous. Accela said it works with over 80% of the largest cities in the United States and has been partnering with agencies to modernize solar permitting.

The NREL-designed tool catches any code issues, typos, and other errors, and returns corrections to the applicant, allowing simple projects to move forward quickly while creating more bandwidth for staff to focus on more complex or unique applications. Accela said its customers can integrate SolarAPP+ into software to speed up review and approval processes and track permits within a single system.

Hyzon signs development MOU

Rochester, New York-based Hyzon Motors and Modern Industrial Investment Holding Group, a Saudi industrial conglomerate, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NEOM Company to develop a plant in Saudi Arabia to assemble hydrogen-fueled vehicles.

Under the agreement, Hyzon and its partners will work over the next 18 months to finalize plans for the facility, which is expected to be able to assemble up to 10,000 vehicles a year. Hyzon and Modern Group plan to incorporate a joint venture company, Hyzon Motors Middle East, to focus on supplying Hyzon-branded commercial vehicles throughout Saudi Arabia.

NEOM is part of the portfolio of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world.

Earlier, Hyzon signed a separate MOU for a joint venture with renewable fuels company Raven SR. The two plan to build up to 100 hydrogen production hubs across the United States and globally. As part of the deal, Hyzon said it would acquire a minority interest in Wyoming-based Raven.

Second life for retired EV batteries

A team of researchers from Utah State University and Maryland-based security research firm Dream Team were named as finalists in the fourth round of the nationwide American-Made Solar Prize competition.

Assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering Hongjie Wang is working on a team to develop solar energy storage systems using retired batteries from electric vehicles.

Image: Utah State University

The team is developing solar energy storage systems using retired batteries from electric vehicles. For their submission, researchers developed solar energy storage systems using retired batteries from electric vehicles. They said the goal is to reduce the cost of solar energy storage systems by 50%. Their approach is bolstered by the fact that the cost of electrical vehicle retired batteries is lower, and can be used to fuel energy storage systems with newly developed active life-balancing technologies. Retired EV batteries may still hold up to 85% of their original storage capacity.

Supported by the Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the prize is a $3 million competition designed to transform the best ideas around solar into technology solutions that are ready for market. Last year, 121 teams submitted ideas to the three-stage competition. In December, semifinalist teams were selected to move on in the competition. And in early April, finalist teams were announced, each earning a $100,000 cash prize, $75,000 in technical support funding, and a spot to compete in the final contest this September.

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