DOE Sec. Jennifer Granholm pushes for jurisdictions to adopt SolarAPP+ during Berkeley stop

On Friday, August 20, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm visited a solar-powered Berkeley home, joining national, state and local leaders along with clean energy advocates in an effort to urge local cities and counties to adopt the Biden Administration’s newly launched SolarAPP+ to help lower the cost for consumers to go solar — a step many Bay Area leaders are already taking.

Identified by the Biden Administration as a priority, the consumer-friendly tool is an automated application to speed up and increase the accuracy of the process for permitting new residential rooftop solar and storage systems. As noted by DOE Secretary Granholm, SolarAPP+ will not only expedite but also lower costs for solar and storage installation.

Jurisdictions across the Bay Area are quickly moving towards the adoption of SolarAPP+ to help local consumers save money, including Berkeley and Oakland, whose mayors were on-hand for Secretary Granholm’s event.

“As the first city in the nation to electrify new buildings, Berkeley takes its role as a climate leader very seriously,” said Jesse Arreguín, Berkeley Mayor and President of the Association of Bay Area Governments. “I am excited to bring SolarAPP+ to our community, as it is a vital tool for us to continue our city’s and the larger Bay Area’s work in combating climate change while generating thousands of good-paying local jobs.”

On May 12, Pleasant Hill became the first California city to adopt SolarAPP+, and several California cities and counties are on track to formally adopt it later this year. In the Bay Area, in addition to Berkeley and Oakland, nearly two dozen Bay Area jurisdictions, including the City and County of San Francisco, Alameda County and San Mateo County, are taking steps towards SolarAPP+ adoption. SolarAPP+ is expected to be available to Sonoma County residents within the next two months. Additional Bay Area cities moving to adopt SolarAPP+ include Richmond, Newark, Emeryville, El Cerrito, Hayward, San Leandro, San Pablo, Calistoga, Palo Alto, Dublin, San Ramon, Danville, Livermore, Gilroy and Morgan Hill.

The number of SolarAPP+ adopters is projected to dramatically expand in the coming year on the heels of the California state budget, signed by Governor Newsom on July 13, which included $20 million for technical assistance targeted for local jurisdictions planning to adopt expedited permitting software such as SolarAPP+.

“I am thrilled that this year’s budget includes $20 million to help streamline rooftop solar and storage permitting, which will allow more Californians to make their homes climate resilient and supports thousands of good-paying jobs,” said Senate Budget Chair Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), who authored a bill that included this provision. “California’s cities and counties are now poised to answer the national call to adopt more rooftop solar and storage, faster.”

News item from the California Solar & Storage Association (CALSSA)

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