Fast Online Solar Permitting Using SolarAPP

What is it?
SolarAPP+ is short for Solar Automated Permit Processing. It is an online web portal that automates the plan review and process for issuing permits to qualified businesses or individuals (licensed contractors/installers) to install code-compliant residential photovoltaic (PV) systems. (Commercial buildings are not eligible.)

How to Start using SolarApp+

  1. Register through the SolarAPP+ Registration Webpage (Click Here)
  2. Submit for automated review through SolarAPP+ (Click Here)
  3. A processing fee from SolarAPP+ and City of Watsonville permit fees will be charged through
    Stripe, a payment app
  4. Once you've paid all applicable fees your permit will be immediately issued electronically

What does it look like?
Watch the You Tube Video SolarAPP+ Introduction and Technical Demonstration (by NREL)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

What is SolarAPP+?
SolarAPP+, short for Solar Automated Permit Processing, is an online web portal that automates the plan review and process for issuing permits to qualified businesses or individuals to install code- compliant residential photovoltaic (PV) systems. Based on model building, electrical, and fire codes, SolarAPP automatically performs a compliance check based on inputs supplied by the contractor to ensure the proposed system is safe and code compliant. Installation practices, workmanship, and adherence to the approved design are then verified by the City of Watsonville through the inspection process.

How do I register with SolarAPP+?
You may register for a new SolarAPP+ account at First provide basic contact information such as the name and address of your company. Then create a password that meets the security requirements (8 or more characters, 1 or more upper- and lower-case characters,1 or more numbers, 1 or more special characters and does not contain the user's email or name). Additionally, you must select 'Installer' in the Account Type field. The system will verify whether your provided address is valid. Please ensure that you read and accept the SolarAPP+ Terms of Use and Privacy Policy prior to registering for an account.

After you submit the registration form, you should see a pop-up screen that confirms your account registration. Before proceeding to submit project applications, you must provide the SolarAPP team your contractor license information, including numbers and expiration dates, for each jurisdiction in you which you operate.

SolarAPP will review the eligibility information and verify your contractor license in our system to complete the registration process. Once verified, you will be able to submit project applications in SolarAPP+ for addresses in enabled jurisdictions. Contact SolarAPP if you have difficulty registering for an account.

How do I make changes to approved plans?
After issuance, projects can be revised as many times as the contractor wishes prior to installation. After revisions are complete and the project is submitted, SolarAPP+ will then run another compliance check. If your updated system design is code compliant, the system will reissue your updated permit and alert the City of Watsonville with a revised Approval Document and Inspection Checklist. The first three revisions are free of charge, while each subsequent revision would charge the installer the $25 project fee. If a revision requires payment of an additional fee, the revised permit is not issued until the fee is paid.

How do I submit a project through SolarAPP+?
Before you can submit a project through SolarAPP+, you must first register and take the How to Use SolarAPP+ For Rooftop Solar Projects training, developed by IREC, which will show you how to submit a project through SolarAPP+. Once completing this training module, you will receive a certificate documenting your successful completion of the training, which you can then send to NREL, and your account will be enabled to submit projects in any jurisdictions where you are licensed. The training should take about an hour, and only needs to be completed once.

If the project you want to submit also included energy storage systems (such as batteries), you must register and take the How to Use SolarAPP+ For Solar and Storage Projects. This will walk you through the process of submitting solar + storage projects in SolarApp+, as well as help you identify which systems and projects can be approved through the platform.

Where is SolarAPP+ available?
See this article for information on where SolarAPP+ is currently being used.

How much does SolarAPP+ cost an installer to use?
Installers will pay a small administration fee to use SolarAPP+. In turn, contractors will receive instant permits online for compliant applications, saving installers a significant amount of time and effort on every permit processed. Administrative fees will be used to cover ongoing maintenance, customer support, technical assistance, and software development as the product moves to self-sustained commercialization and away from direct support from the Department of Energy (DOE).

Is there a limit on system size SolarAPP+ can review?
SolarAPP+ is for rooftop residential solar systems. While SolarAPP+ does not specify a limit for the system's total rated wattage capacity, there are technical limits on the power rating of service panel equipment, and these are enforced by SolarAPP+. Projects may be permitted to install up to 400A main service, 225A service disconnect switches and 225A busbars. If any project components exceed the above specification thresholds, the project will be designated as ineligible by the SolarAPP+ platform.