Accela has entered a new partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) 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 (SaaS) solution will be rolled out to 1,500 agencies at launch and made available at no cost to Accela’s current state and local customers. The company says the technology enables permitting timelines to be shortened from an average of two weeks to instantaneous. In doing so, the partnership will help bolster community resilience, promote economic recovery, meet the growing demand for clean energy and accelerate solar permitting across the country. Accela works with over 80% of the largest cities in the U.S. and has been partnering with agencies for years to modernize solar permitting.

“Agencies across the country are increasingly looking for ways to speed up solar permitting to support local jobs, drive economic growth and protect the environment,” says Tom Nieto, COO at Accela. “We’re excited about partnering with NREL on this project, which aligns perfectly with our mission to deliver SaaS solutions to improve efficiency, increase citizen engagement, and build thriving and resilient communities.”

Residential solar and battery applications account for a growing percentage of permitting pipelines, with authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) receiving hundreds of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System permit applications per month. With increasing numbers of local governments creating climate action plans to reduce emissions and fight climate change, the new partnership between Accela and NREL will help agencies seamlessly manage large volumes of residential solar and home battery permit applications to substantially rebalance staff workloads. Additionally, as solar is one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S., it will also help local governments fuel economic growth amid record budget shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

NREL’s turnkey solution catches any code issues, typos and other errors, and instantly returns corrections to the applicant – allowing simple projects to move forward quickly while creating more bandwidth for staff to focus on more complex applications. Accela customers can integrate SolarAPP+ into their Accela Building solution to speed up review and approval processes and track permits from start to finish within a single system operating as a centralized source of truth. The system was built in collaboration with key code officials, AHJs and the solar industry to help departments utilize resources more efficiently and effectively by digitizing traditionally paper-based and manual processes – including plan review and install approval – for out-of-the-box solar and battery projects.

For more on Accela’s Civic Solutions for building and permitting, click here.

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