Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and the Department of Permitting Services (DPS) this week announced a streamlined residential solar permitting process that will make Montgomery County one of the first jurisdictions in the nation to pilot Solar Automated Permit Processing (SolarAPP+), developed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
SolarAPP+, which is available at no cost to local governments, is a collaborative effort to foster rooftop solar adoption by making it easier to quickly and safely approve installation projects. By offering standardized plan review software to run compliance checks and process building permit approvals for eligible rooftop solar systems, SolarAPP+ reduces install times, reduces project cancellations, and expands access to renewable energy.
“Montgomery County’s goals to combat climate change are the most aggressive in the State of Maryland, and meeting these goals means greatly expanding the use of renewable energy,” said County Executive Elrich. “SolarAPP+ will enable the County to streamline the solar permitting process, making it easier and faster for residents to generate solar energy on their rooftops. We are very thankful and appreciative to now have a presidential administration that is addressing climate change as seriously as we are.”
DPS will complete its evaluation of the pilot program in the fall. After the pilot program, DPS anticipates submitting executive regulation to enable SolarAPP+ for all solar permit applicants.
According to a press release:
“The Department of Permitting Services is pleased to work with SolarAPP+ to explore options that make our permitting services even more dynamic and customer centric,” said DPS Director Mitra Pedoeem. “With this pilot program, we will work closely with industry experts to make sure we provide not only faster permitting but continue to provide a high level of safety to our citizens.”
In 2020, DPS earned the coveted SolSmart Gold Designation for making it faster, easier, and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar and its commitment to improving the solar permitting process in Montgomery County. Under the current policy DPS is committed to completing solar permit reviews in five days. SolarAPP+ will enable the solar permitting process to be completed in a matter of minutes, another step in the county’s commitment to the Climate Action Plan.