Colorado approves streamlined solar permitting process

Colorado sign

For any state or region hoping to add more solar energy, a modern, streamlined permitting process can have a big impact. The Colorado Legislature has taken note and passed a bipartisan bill to establish the Streamlined Solar Permitting and Inspection Grant Program. This will provide nearly $1 million to help local governments with startup costs associated with adopting permitting and inspection software like SolarAPP+.

“Colorado’s mountain communities are eager to develop solar technology, but all too often, projects are held up in the labor-intensive permitting process, and sometimes even canceled. These grants will help reduce time, costs, and burden for permitting, and keep us in line with our greenhouse gas reduction goals,” according to bill sponsor Dylan Roberts. “House Bill 1234 is a win for both our economy and our environment.”

The innovative software platform, developed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and UL Laboratories, can immediately and accurately approve residential permits. This removes one of the most significant barriers homeowners often experience when looking to add on-site solar.

“We commend the Colorado Legislature for advancing expedited permitting on residential solar projects while prioritizing compliance with safety and code standards,” said Ken Boyce, senior director of principal engineering in the Testing, Inspection and Certification group at UL Solutions. “We recognize the value SolarAPP+ brings to governments, the public and the solar industry, and how it will serve as an important enabler of safer and cleaner energy.”

SolarApp+ has already been successfully implemented in Denver and several other states. According to NREL data, projects submitted through the app are 37% less likely to fail final inspections than traditional projects. At present, 32 communities across the United States are using SolarAPP+, and it has resulted in over 15,000 residential solar permits being issued, accounting for 100,000 kilowatts of electricity and 15,000 estimated staff hours saved on reviewing permits.

“This will empower local officials to automate permitting and inspections, which will reduce staff time and cut costs,” said Mike Kruger, CEO of the Colorado Solar and Storage Association (COSSA). “In turn, this will give homeowners immediate results for their permit applications, and solar and storage companies can hire more staff to support an increase in projects approved.”

— Solar Builder magazine




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