SAN RAMON – Accela®, the trusted provider of cloud solutions for government, today announced that the online solar permitting platform launched in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) SolarAPP+ (Solar Automated Permit Processing Plus), was selected by Fast Company for its World Changing Ideas Award 2022. The Fast Company World Changing Idea Awards™ honors products, concepts, companies, policies, and designs pursuing innovation for the good of society and the planet. Awardees are selected by a group of leading designers, venture capitalists, thinkers, entrepreneurs, and Fast Company editors based on their impact, innovation, design, creativity, ingenuity, and scalability.

“Accela is honored to be recognized for our efforts with the National Renewable Energy Lab to improve solar permitting,” said Tom Nieto, chief operations officer at Accela. “SolarAPP+ was created to make solar energy more accessible and affordable for residents. A year later, communities have already saved thousands of dollars and hours, and more solar panels are on roofs across the United States. We are excited to continue to build on this momentum, and help our communities create future-ready environments.”

In April 2021, the NREL partnered with Accela to launch an instant solar permitting solution to make solar more affordable and accessible through Accela’s Civic Application for Building. The solution dramatically reduces the solar permitting timeline from two weeks to instantaneous in some jurisdictions, automates the permit review process with assured compliance, provides virtual inspection options, and supports growing job opportunities in the field.

In one year, 5,000 permits and more than 31,300 kilowatts of energy have been approved through SolarAPP+, showing the value of modern government technology in helping communities deliver better experiences to residents and become more efficient.

“The success of this partnership shows automating clean energy technology permitting is not the way of the future it is here today. With projects being installed approximately 10 days faster, it is resulting in a win-win-win for local governments, homeowners, and contractors,” said Dr. Jeffrey J. Cook, NREL’s SolarAPP+ Project Lead. “We look forward to our continued partnership with Accela as more and more communities turn to SolarAPP+ to meet their permitting and clean energy objectives.”

SolarAPP+ demonstrates how partnership between technology platforms and the government can address emerging needs and challenges. California State Senator Scott Wiener is sponsoring legislation to require instant, online solar permitting – including SolarAPP+ as a key component in this effort. Additionally, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is calling on mayors to adopt SolarAPP+ for all residential solar panel permitting. As the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report found, wind and solar energy are now cost-competitive to coal and natural gas. This partnership is key to addressing upfront costs and bureaucratic gridlock that still slow down the transition to renewable energy.

“Pima County and the City of Tucson, Arizona believe that all cities, states, counties, and localities must do their part in the fight against climate change, for healthier futures for all their residents. We use SolarAPP+ as an immediate, affordable, necessary step toward changing our current systems to usher in a greener future,” said Pima County Director of Development Services Carla Blackwell.

Accela is trusted by 80 percent of the United States’ largest cities and benefits more than 275 million residents and businesses globally. With Accela’s unified platform and suite of cloud-based solutions, governments are empowered to respond to evolving community needs, increase efficiency, and ensure resilience. 

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