Clean Power Finance, an online marketplace for residential solar financing and provider of solar sales software, will unveil a prototype of the National Solar Permitting Database at Solar Power International and solicit industry participation in the project.
The National Solar Permitting Database, which will be available to the industry for free, is designed to streamline complex and time-consuming solar permitting processes by aggregating permitting data and standards from around the United States in one online location.
Installers and solar professionals will be able to search the database quickly for permitting requirements, saving time and money and allowing them to focus on selling more solar, the company says. The database is supported by a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative.
“Permitting is a widely recognized pain point in the solar sector, but we think this project can change that,” says James Tong, director of government programs management at Clean Power Finance. “Collecting permitting information in a database that is available to all solar integrators without charge will dramatically improve time and cost savings and help lower the overall installed cost of solar.”
The database relies on solar professionals and Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) to submit permitting information for the areas in which they operate. The more these groups participation, the more comprehensive and useful the database will be, the company says. A number of key industry players from a variety of solar industry sectors have already signed up to participate, including Paramount Solar, SunWize Technologies, Next Step Living, B.E. Solar, PvPermits and Real Goods Solar, Inc. Real Goods contributed data covering 5,500 zip codes.
“We’re very happy to help Clean Power Finance with the National Solar Permitting Database,” says John Schaeffer, founder and residential president at Real Goods Solar. “We believe this program will help significantly in sorting out the confusion from numerous jurisdictions around the country, thereby reducing cycle time, design and administration costs. Ultimately, we will be able to set better expectations with customers, which will foster profitable growth in new solar markets.”
A wide variety of AHJs and service providers have also committed to support development of the database. Burnham Energy, a national service provider for solar installers, and AHJs from states as disparate as Wisconsin and California recognize the potential time and financial benefits of the project and are happy to contribute data.
“The current state of solar permitting represents a challenge for everyone involved in the process, including AHJs, installers and homeowners looking to go solar,” says Carla Din, director of the East Bay Green Corridor, a partnership that is working with nine cities totaling over 950,000 residents in the San Francisco East Bay to standardize permitting and inspection processes for rooftop distributed generation (DG) solar projects. “AHJs faced with limited budgets and time, reduced staff and increasing demand for DG solar will also benefit from a smoother, more informed permitting process. This is an excellent opportunity for AHJs and solar professionals to work together to make information-sharing easier.”
Third-party organizations and entities, including Vote Solar and various Rooftop Solar Challenge teams across the U.S., are also collaborating on the project, which will assist with their own ongoing efforts to streamline and standardize solar permitting processes.
Tong and Clean Power Finance team members will be demonstrating and explaining the National Solar Permitting Database at the Clean Power Finance booth, #3849, during SPI in Orlando the week of September 10. Tong will also be co-facilitating SPI’s “Permitting – DG Scale” solar idea swap on Tuesday, September 11, from 8:30 to 10 a.m. in room 308B at the Orange County Convention Center.
To learn more about the project or how to contribute, visit us at SPI or email email@example.com.
Clean Power Finance