SolarTech Launches Solar Industry “Permitting Challenge” to Showcase Integrated Solutions for Online Permit Applications

SolarTech convenes an industry wide competition to develop online permitting solutions that will reduce time and eliminate the redundant paperwork associated with the permitting of solar systems. This work is in-line with the consortium’s goal to reduce permitting cycle time by 50% by 2011. SolarTech issued a software interoperability standard at the Solar Power International conference in Anaheim last month for different programs to exchange data using the same protocols.

The Permitting Challenge requires software providers to formulate teams with cities, integrators and utilities, to develop a pilot solution and an on-line process for solar permitting. The winning team will lead a public demonstration at the SolarTech / CALSEIA Summit, April 21-22, 2010.

The application and approval process for solar PV construction permits is well recognized by the industry as an inefficient process with hidden costs borne by the integrator. The objective is for any integrator initiating a permit application over the web to expect relatively the same experience regardless of the city or county permit jurisdiction.

The Department of Energy’s Solar America Board of Codes and Standards (Solar ABCs) has developed streamlining guidelines to address solar permitting, while several software companies have begun to offer online permitting services. Without the adoption of software standards, the industry risks creating software islands of inefficiencies that would only replace the current manual process.

SolarTech will announce the Permitting Challenge teams at its upcoming Permitting & Installation Symposium on December 3rd at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco (Overview and Agenda). All details pertaining to the Permitting Challenge are available at SolarTech’s web site: Permitting Challenge.

The SolarTech software interoperability standard was funded in part by a grant from the California Energy Commission. The grant’s overarching objective is to develop and promote best practices for commercial and residential solar markets. Defining innovative financial models and market mechanisms that support grid parity for solar PV are fundamental to the grant’s goals. Specific SolarTech targets within this Energy Commission PIER grant include:

  • Contribute to lowering the balance of system costs, as a percent of the current $9/Watt-peak (Wp) system costs to the projected $5/Wp system costs.
  • Reduce the end-to-end PV installation time from the current 25 to 50 weeks to 9 weeks by 2013.

SolarTech Press Release
November 19, 2009


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