NREL signs agreement with UL to scale up SolarAPP+ software


The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) today announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the global company UL to work toward further developing and commercializing the Solar Automated Permit Processing Plus (SolarAPP+) software. The software automates the permitting process for residential solar systems.

The use of SolarAPP+ so far has enabled local governments to cut down on the time required to grant a permit from a national average of five business days to zero.

SolarAPP+ is designed to make it easier for local governments to determine whether a proposed residential solar system is compliant with safety and code standards. If it is, SolarAPP+ will approve the design and issue a permit instantly. If not, SolarAPP+ will decline the application and indicate the issues for the contractor to resolve.

The collaboration with UL is a step in meeting NREL’s goal to deliver instant permitting nationwide, and have the software used to cover 90% of all residential solar and solar-plus-storage permits by 2030.

UL’s code-related experience in the solar market, including with installers, customers, and local governments, drove the partnership decision, NREL said.

Late last year, NREL released the pilot version of the free SolarAPP+ software to help reduce the time and cost of local government permitting and support faster deployment of residential solar.

DOE funded the development of SolarAPP+, and a coalition of stakeholders including the International Code Council, National Fire Protection Association, International Association of Electrical Inspectors, local governments, and the solar industry are helping to develop the software and engage local governments in its adoption.

NREL has committed to adding new features to SolarAPP+ until March 2023, when UL will take over management and deployment of the software with code organizations, the SolarAPP+ coalition, and related stakeholders. UL also plans to work to create new features that expand the scope to other clean energy technologies and installation scenarios in accordance with an NREL license agreement.


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