US gov removes major residential solar power hurdle in green tech push

Climate change concerns combined with the growing availability and affordability of green tech have driven many consumers to explore solar-powered home energy systems, including solar panels that can be installed on one's roof. The Department of Energy has announced a new fast-track tool that is designed to help get consumers automatic permits to install residential solar panels, making the entire process easier.

Compared to a decade ago, the cost of solar-powered home energy systems has decreased by around 90-percent. That's a substantial drop, making solar systems a more affordable option for many homeowners looking to reduce their reliance on traditional power sources.

Despite the decrease in solar power, the installation costs remain relatively high and are cited by people in the US as the biggest thing preventing them from moving forward with the residential upgrade. With that in mind, the Department of Energy has announced its "Summer of Solar 2021" initiative.

Under this initiative, the DOE has launched its Solar Automated Permit Processing Plus (SolarAPP+) web-based tool across the US. With this, the DOE explains, local governments will be able to quickly review and approve pending permit requests for residential solar installation. The DOE anticipates this tool "drastically" reducing the hurdles that come with installing solar systems at home.

According to the Department of Energy, some consumers in the US are forced to wait months to get a solar permit. In these places, solar installation companies are less likely to offer their services due to the uncertainty with the permit process, making it even harder for consumers to add a solar energy system to their homes.

That's where the SolarAPP+ tool comes in, with the DOE's Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm stating:

We are fast-tracking America's clean energy future by cutting red tape to make it cheaper and easier for homeowners to access power from the sun. SolarAPP+ will bust through bureaucracy to speed up permitting, helping homeowners more quickly add solar panels on their roofs, adding gigawatts of clean electricity to the nations grid, while creating good paying jobs. Today, I'm challenging localities across the country to bring the SolarAPP+ right to their hometowns.