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California Energy Commission Program Helping to Speed Up Approval of Residential Solar Projects

By MPCO Staff

The California Energy Commission has been helping cities and counties greenlight residential solar projects faster, through the California Automated Permit Processing Program (CalAPP). 

Solar panel system on the roof of a home

CalAPP provides grants for meeting Senate Bill 379 mandates that require non-exempt counties and cities to implement an online solar permitting platform that verifies code compliance and issues permits in real time for residential solar energy or solar+storage systemsThe program had $20 million in grants available to incorporated cities and counties.​ Grant awardees range between $40,000 and $100,000, determined by the population of the jurisdiction. 

Grantees must use one of the solar permitting platforms such as SolarAPP+ or Symbium, or custom build their own. More than $18 million has already been awarded, with 335 agreements funded out of 344 applications submitted as of early June 2024. 

Cities below 5,000 in population and counties below 150,000 were exempt from SB 379. The compliance deadline for cities with a population 50,000 or more, and counties with population 150,000 or more, was September 30, 2023. Cities with a population between 5,000 to 50,000 must comply by September 30, 2024. 

Information about the grantees can be found at the Residential Solar Permitting Program dashboard. The dashboard, which is updated regularly, is color coded as follows:  

  • The dark blue dots are cities with an online, automated platform. 

  • The orange dots are cities without a platform. 

  • The green dots are exempt cities or cities exempt until the 2024 deadline. 

Funds were reserved on a first-come, first-served basis following approval of a complete application. Grantees are reimbursed for eligible costs after activities are completed and the implementation of a qualifying system is verified.  

The program is accepting applications until June 30, 2024 but applications submitted after May 1, 2024 might not receive funding if the CEC cannot process them in time since some applicants wait until the last minute to submit them.  

More information can be found on the CEC’s CalAPP and SB 379 webpages.  

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