December 14, 2022 – SUN PRAIRIE, WI, has been selected by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) as one of 12 communities nationwide to adopt the innovative solar permitting platform SolarAPP+. Through the program, Sun Prairie is eligible to receive $15,000 if SolarAPP+ is adopted successfully.

“We’re excited to see NREL’s announcement and the fact that residential solar is receiving its time in the spotlight in Sun Prairie,” said Sam Dunaiski, Executive Director of RENEW Wisconsin. “This platform will help Wisconsin households remove barriers to accessing solar energy.”

SolarAPP+ is an online platform that instantly issues permits for code-compliant residential rooftop photovoltaic (PV) and battery systems. As many consumers and local jurisdictions know, permitting can often slow the process for residential solar and battery installations. Current permitting delays are estimated to increase the cost of solar by $7,000 per project. With the convergence of increased consumer interest in solar installation and federal legislative momentum, clearing this potential bottleneck of long review timelines and complicated permitting applications is imperative. SolarAPP+ provides local governments, installers, and homeowners with a streamlined process to quickly achieve clean power generation from the sun.

Burke O’Neal, co-owner of Full Spectrum, a solar installer based in Madison, WI, is looking forward to Sun Prairie using the SolarApp+ platform to standardize the residential solar permitting process and make it more efficient and cost-effective. “Widespread adoption of the program will reduce system costs and speed up installations,” he said. “This means more homeowners will be able to cut their energy bills with a photovoltaic system on their own roof.”

SolarAPP+ has already approved more than 10,000 permits across jurisdictions, including successful programs in Arizona, California, Illinois, and Texas. Since SolarAPP+ provides an immediate permit for those communities vetted and determined to be eligible, projects have been installed about two weeks faster under the program.

“The City of Sun Prairie applied to participate in the SolarAPP+ competition in order to explore the tool and better understand how our permitting process could utilize support from NREL,” said Scott Semroc, Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Sun Prairie. “The city will learn more about potential integration of the SolarAPP+ platform to augment our existing permitting process, potentially reducing permitting time, freeing up Building Maintenance staff capacity, and overall enabling community investment in renewable energy resources by lowering barriers and streamlining the Solar PV permit process for 1-2 family residences. We are excited to participate in this challenge with our peer communities and further explore this opportunity.”

To see the existing residential Solar PV permit application for the City of Sun Prairie, visit the City of Sun Prairie’s website.

In Sun Prairie and across Wisconsin, RENEW Wisconsin continues to work tirelessly to ensure programs like SolarAPP+ and others are helping both new and existing solar customers reap benefits from their rooftop PV systems. RENEW hopes this first step inspires more local governments to use this free platform to cut red tape and reduce costs for every taxpayer and government entity. 

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