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SolarAPP+ Prize

The American-Made SolarAPP+ Prize is designed to accelerate the adoption of SolarAPP+—an online platform that instantly issues permits for code-compliant residential photovoltaic (PV) systems. SolarAPP+ is free for communities to adopt, but there are associated costs that arise during the adoption and implementation process. The SolarAPP+ Prize will help ease the burden of these costs, saving time for both communities and installers, and making it easier for homeowners across the United States to power their homes from the sun.

SolarAPP+ Prize

To combat climate change, the nation’s solar capacity will need to grow by hundreds of gigawatts in the next 15 years—with hundreds, even millions of solar projects nationwide requiring permits. Communities in the United States are often overwhelmed with the sheer volume of solar permit applications that can slow the adoption of solar energy.

The Solar Automated Permitting Process (SolarAPP+) was developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in collaboration with local governments, code-development organizations, and industry stakeholders to automate the solar permitting review process, free up community staff time, and deliver instant permits for code-compliant PV systems.

Although SolarAPP+ is free for communities to adopt, there are associated costs that arise during the adoption and implementation process. The SolarAPP+ Prize was created to ease the burden of these implementation costs for communities and to accelerate the adoption of SolarAPP+.

To sign up or to see the program schedule for the SolarAPP+ Prize and the submission deadlines, please visit our website, visit SolarAPP+ on HeroX .

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Prize Structure

The SolarAPP+ Prize is a two-step competition to incentivize communities to accelerate the adoption of SolarAPP+. NREL will manage the prize program with $1 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office. Communities that are selected during Step 1, and successfully implement SolarAPP+ during Step 2, will be able to receive $15,000.

Step 1 (Submission)

Eligible authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) answer a questionnaire and upload a letter of support to demonstrate their intent to adopt SolarAPP+, the impact it would have on their solar permitting process, and their demonstrated need for the product and the SolarAPP+ Prize. Submissions are due by November 4, 2022, 3 P.M. ET. NREL will evaluate all submissions and select AHJ competitors who will then be able to complete Step 2 of the prize and be eligible for the $15,000 cash award. Competitors who submit, but are not selected, cannot move on to Step 2 and will not receive an award.

Step 2 (SolarApp+ Adoption)

Selected AHJ competitors will submit proof of SolarAPP+ adoption by demonstrating the SolarAPP+ pilot has begun by the final submission deadline of April 27, 2023, in order to receive a $15,000 cash prize award.

NREL will provide selected AHJ competitors with technical assistance for adoption of the SolarApp+ tool throughout the prize period. Only one prize can be awarded per competitor. AHJ competitors must have been selected in Step 1 to win an award.

Important Dates

  • Program announced and registration opens — September 12, 2022
  • Step 1, submission due — November 4, 2022, 3 p.m. ET
  • Eligible AHJ competitors announced — Anticipated late November 2022
  • Step 2, final submission adoption deadline—April 27, 2023, 3 p.m. ET
  • Winner announcement and awards announced—Anticipated May 2023

All dates are subject to change including contest openings, deadlines, and announcements. Sign up for updates on our HeroX challenge page.

Who is Eligible to Compete?

The competition is open to all counties, cities, and any incorporated towns and villages in the United States that intend to adopt SolarAPP+ in the specified timelines. For more information, review the official prize rules.

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Solutions that help shape the future

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