SolarAPP+ Performance Review (2022 Data)

Jeff Cook, Rosalie Yu, Kaifeng Xu, Sushmita Jena, Tim Rivard, Jessica de la Paz

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


The Solar Automated Permit Processing Plus (SolarAPP+) platform is an online portal to facilitate and expedite rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) permitting processes. SolarAPP+ allows PV contractors to upload system specifications, have those specifications automatically reviewed for code compliance, and receive instant approval for code-compliant systems. SolarAPP+ also provides inspection checklists to verify installation practices and adherence to approved designs. SolarAPP+ is available to authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) at no cost. This report is part of an ongoing series of reviews of SolarAPP+ performance. Consistent with previous performance reviews, we summarize SolarAPP+ adoption trends to date and compare various metrics for PV systems permitted through SolarAPP+ versus systems permitted through conventional AHJ permitting processes. As of the end of 2022, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) had contacted over 1,500 AHJs with significant solar permitting volume regarding SolarAPP+. Of those, 607 AHJs had at least expressed interest in the platform. 16 AHJs had begun piloting the platform and 15 of these had publicly launched the platform by the end of 2022. In 2022, 206 installers submitted 11,092 permits through the SolarAPP+ platform, including 708 permits for solar+storage systems. SolarAPP+ permits accounted for around 37% of all permits issued in participating AHJs. We compare permitting timelines through SolarAPP+ to traditional AHJ permitting processes to assess the platform's performance. Consistent with previous SolarAPP+ performance reviews, we find that permitting timelines are significantly shorter for SolarAPP+ projects. Based on median timelines, a typical SolarAPP+ project is permitted and inspected 8 business days sooner than traditional projects. We estimate that automatic SolarAPP+ permitting saved between 3,500 and 13,900 hours of AHJ staff time in 2022. Finally, we find evidence that SolarAPP+ may improve inspection outcomes, with SolarAPP+ projects failing inspections about 28% less frequently than traditional projects.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages32
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-85827


  • AHJ
  • battery storage
  • deployment
  • distributed
  • inspection
  • local government
  • permitting
  • rooftop
  • solar
  • SolarAPP+
  • storage
  • timeline


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