Monday, July 15, 2024

New app guarantees sooner rooftop-solar approvals


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Rooftop photo voltaic is prepared with an opportunity in Minnesota. Across the state, demand for rooftop photo voltaic is rising as houses, companies, faculties and farms understand the numerous price financial savings they’ll make by including photo voltaic to their roofs. And due to state and federal incentives — together with tens of billions of {dollars} from the Inflation Reduction Act — it is cheaper than ever to make the change to photo voltaic.

And quickly, due to Minnesota lawmakers, putting in rooftop photo voltaic in our state shall be sooner and simpler.

Until now, the momentum behind rooftop photo voltaic has been stalled by native authorities pink tape. Homes and companies usually must endure a gradual approval course of. For every utility, a neighborhood authorities could must manually work by means of 100 compliance checks and procure approval from the structural, electrical, fireplace, planning and zoning departments. The ensuing wait occasions and problems lead folks to suppose twice about putting in photo voltaic — a reluctance we will not afford if we’re to succeed in Minnesota’s bold aim of turning into 100% carbon-free in 2040.

That’s why we applaud state lawmakers for passing laws this yr that features a $2 million incentive for native governments throughout the state to undertake the automated allowing device SolarAPP+. Developed by the US Department of Energy, SolarAPP+ is a web-based portal that automates allowing with out compromising security and different crucial allowing checks. It works by asking the photo voltaic contractor a sequence of inquiries to confirm that the system design is as much as code. Eligible, cookie-cutter rooftop photo voltaic functions get authorised permits to construct rapidly, whereas ineligible initiatives circulation by means of a typical allowing overview. SolarAPP+ can challenge same-day permits – a feat virtually extraordinary right this moment.

Hundreds of cities throughout the nation are already utilizing SolarAPP+ to fast-track photo voltaic functions, rapidly and seamlessly ship power independence and decrease payments for his or her residents. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates that in areas the place it’s used, SolarAPP+ will save about 9,000 hours of native authorities employees time by 2022 and velocity up the allowing course of by a median of 13 days.

This new strategy will assist meet our state’s power objectives and strengthen Minnesota’s place as a pacesetter in clear power. SolarAPP+ is a win for everybody — it takes the burden off native governments and provides them a useful device to raised handle the inflow of photo voltaic permits, creating consistency throughout counties and offering installers and photo voltaic clients a sooner, extra predictable approval course of.

Given all the advantages that come from rooftop photo voltaic, we have to make it as straightforward and hassle-free as potential. Want to decrease power payments and save the planet? Turns out, there’s an app for that.

Logan O’Grady is the manager director of the Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MnSEIA). Johanna Neumann is the senior director of Environment America.

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