The City of San Luis Obispo is working with SolarAPP+ to make the permitting process for residential solar panels easier.
The city’s Deputy Building Official, Michael Loew, says the online application process is quite simple and fully automated.
"You take your project design, run it through their software, and then they provide an approval document," Loew explained.
The applicant then submits that document to the city for a permit.
"We actually have one of the lowest fees in the area for a solar permit," Loew said.
He estimates the fee to be roughly $190.
"There is an additional fee to use the SolarAPP+ software for $25," Loew added.
Even with the additional $25 fee, Loew says it is still only about half the price of a solar permit in other jurisdictions.
Although this process is only available for residential installations, larger organizations say an online process would help move the state toward clean energy and make the process much easier.
"Oh, absolutely. I think that's the way everything's going right now," said Philip Daighton, Santa Maria Elks Lodge Secretary.
Solar panels ultimately save users money. The Santa Maria Elks Lodge recently installed more than 100 solar panels
"It's a credit and we pay it back in the form of solar credits," Daighton said.
The solar panels have lowered the PG&E bill at the Elks Lodge. They now have a solar bill based on what they produce until they pay off the lease on the 100-plus solar panels installed.
Their PG&E bill used to range from $7,000- $10,000 a month. Their maximum PG&E bill now ranges from $3,000-$4,000.
The City of San Luis Obispo's website has all of the information you need to know about the app and the online application process. You can find a link to that information here.