UL Collaborates With DoE’s NREL To Commercialize SolarAPP+ Software

US based global safety certification company UL has announced signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the US Department of Energy‘s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for developing and commercializing the Solar Automated Permit Processing Plus (SolarAPP+) software. 

This software will automate the permitting process for residential solar systems. Using SolarAPP+ the local governments will be able to cut down on the time required to grant a permit from a national average of five business days to zero. 

How does it work?

SolarAPP+ facilitates the solar licensing process by making it easier for local governments to decide whether a proposed residential solar system is compliant with safety and code standards. 

SolarAPP+ will approve the design and issue a permit instantly if it is. And if is not, SolarAPP+ will reject the application and indicate the issues for the contractor to resolve. 

High-speed processing of standard rooftop solar applications will increase local governments’ capabilities to handle high volumes of licenses more efficiently as demand for solar increases across the country.

Speaking of the partnership, NREL’s lead developer of SolarAPP+, Jeffrey Cook said, “This collaboration with UL is a critical first step in meeting our vision to deliver instant permitting nationwide.” He announced that the goal is to have the software used to cover 90 percent of all residential solar and solar plus storage permits by 2030.

“UL’s extensive code-related experience in the solar market drove our decision to partner with them. Their credibility with installers, customers, and local governments will help us build a scalable product while instilling local government confidence in the automated code compliance checks at the heart of the application,” Jeffery added. 

To reduce the time and cost of local government permitting and support the faster deployment of residential solar, NREL released the pilot version of the free SolarAPP+ last year itself. Considering that safety is a key of local governments, the licensing process includes an evaluation of the system for its code compliance with international model codes including the 2017 National Electrical Code.

SolarAPP+ is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and a group of stakeholders including the International Code Council, National Fire Protection Association, International Association of Electrical Inspectors, local governments, and the solar industry is supporting to develop of the software and engagement of local governments in its adoption.

NREL has promised to add new features to SolarAPP+ until March 2023, when it is anticipated that UL will take over the management and deployment of the software with code organizations, the SolarAPP+ group, and related stakeholders.

“We are committed to innovative ways to build confidence in renewable energy solutions,” commented Ken Boyce, senior director, Principal Engineering at UL. 

Boyce added, “We recognize the value SolarAPP+ brings to governments, the solar industry, and the public, and we look forward to supporting jurisdictions in establishing access to safe solar energy technologies for their residents.”

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