SolarAPP+ Performance Review (2023 Data)

Jeff Cook, Sertac Akar, Danny Chang, Anneliese Fensch, Katie Nissen, Eric O'Shaughnessy, Kaifeng Xu

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


The Solar Automated Permit Processing Plus (SolarAPP+) platform is an online portal to facilitate and expedite rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) and battery storage permitting processes. SolarAPP+ allows PV contractors to upload system specifications, have that information automatically reviewed for code compliance, and receive instant approval for code-compliant systems, reducing authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) staff time needed for review. SolarAPP+ also provides inspection checklists to verify installation practices and adherence to approved designs. SolarAPP+ is available to 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 traditional AHJ permitting processes. As of the end of 2023, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) had contacted over 1,700 AHJs with significant solar permitting volume regarding SolarAPP+. Of those, 793 AHJs had expressed interest in the platform as of the end of 2023. 161 AHJs had begun piloting the platform and 97 of these had publicly launched the platform by the end of 2023. In 2023, 668 installers submitted 18,906 permits through the SolarAPP+ platform, including 4,834 permits submitted as part of a solar plus storage program. SolarAPP+ permits accounted for around 43% 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 14.5 business days sooner than traditional projects. We estimate that automatic SolarAPP+ permitting saved around 7,200 hours of AHJ staff time in 2023. Finally, we estimate that SolarAPP+ eliminated over 150,000 business days in permitting-related delays in 2023.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages38
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-89618


  • energy storage
  • permitting
  • photovoltaic
  • residential solar
  • solar
  • SolarAPP+


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