JULY 2023 UPDATE: The application submittal deadline is extended to May 1, 2024 (previously May 1, 2023), or until funding is exhausted. This is due to the passage of AB 101 (Budget Act of 2023) which reappropriates all remaining funds an additional year for funding reservation. Funding is limited and is awarded first-come, first-served, so you are encouraged to submit an application as soon as possible. The latest funding information can be found on the NOPA Grant List below.

Please review the Solicitation Manual and Terms and Conditions prior to completing an application. These documents and the application form can be accessed via the link provided in the Solicitation Information tab below.

The program is authorized with the passage of Senate Bill 129 (Skinner, Budget Act of 2021). The program is receiving $20 million from the General Fund. The funds appropriated shall be used to support a grant program for California cities, counties, or cities and counties to establish online solar permitting.

The application form must be completed and signed by an authorized representative of the eligible local government jurisdiction. Please send an email to calapp@energy.ca.gov with the subject header “Application Submittal for [City/County] of [Applicant Name]” and include the application form as an attachment. This must be submitted no later than May 1, 2024. You should receive an auto-generated email confirming receipt of your email.

After your application is reviewed and approved, you will receive a reply email from CEC staff with information and next steps to develop and execute a grant agreement with the CEC. The email will include two forms which must be completed and returned before grant agreement development can proceed. One form is the Payee Data Record, which is a standard state form that our accounting office uses to authorize payments, and the second form is a CEC Contact List which identifies key contact(s) associated with the grant agreement. To speed up grant agreement development, feel free to include these completed forms with your application submittal. Each form is included here.

  1. Q: What can I use this grant funding for?
    A: The grant funding is intended to help local governments in California recover the cost of establishing an eligible automated, online solar permitting platform. In most cases, most of the funding will be used to reimburse staff or consultant time associated with implementing the software. There are other secondary costs permitted for reimbursement, as described in the CalAPP Solicitation Manual in Section D.4 (Budget Costs).
  2. Q: Can we still apply to CalAPP if we already adopted and launched a solar permitting platform?
    A: You may only expense for activities that occur during the grant agreement term, meaning after the grant is executed. If you’ve already adopted a platform such as SolarAPP+, there still may be opportunities to receive funding. Examples include:
    • Training events for staff and local installers;
    • Costs to upgrade the platform to add support for energy storage paired with solar energy systems (for those that previously only permitted for solar energy systems).
  3. Q: I already adopted a solar permitting platform. Can this program pay for this?
    A: Unfortunately, the Energy Commission cannot distribute funds for expenses that occurred before executing an agreement with the Energy Commission. Please see the answer to question 2 for potential opportunities to still receive funding.
  4. Q: What is the deadline to apply for CalAPP grant funding?
    A: Applications must be submitted according to the instructions in Chapter 3, Part B, of the Solicitation Manual, by May 1, 2024. This allows time for processing and approval prior to the statutory funding encumbrance deadline of June 30, 2024. Funding will be awarded on a first-come first-served basis while funding remains available. Applicants are encouraged to apply as early in the application process as possible. 
  5. Q: Can an applicant adopt a platform other than SolarAPP+?
    A: Yes, the platform must meet the requirements as described in D.6. of the CalAPP Solicitation Manual.
  6. Q: How do I know the population of my city or county?
    A: The maximum grant amount for your application is determined by the latest estimated population available from the California Department of Finance. Details, including official population estimates of each city and county can be accessed at https://dof.ca.gov/forecasting/Demographics/.
  7. Q. Can a county applicant include the populations of each city within that county for purposes of calculating the population total for a corresponding maximum grant award?
    A. No, the county population is considered as the population not including incorporated cities within the county’s borders.
  8. Q: Can my permitting platform include compliance checks for aesthetic characteristics of the solar energy systems?
    A: No, the permitting platform should only assess if the solar energy system is safe and meets code. There should not be enforcement of items not related to health and safety, such as aesthetic requirements, as this would violate state law. Per AB 2188 (2014), “It is the intent of the Legislature that local agencies not adopt ordinances that create unreasonable barriers to the installation of solar energy systems, including, but not limited to, design review for aesthetic purposes, and not unreasonably restrict the ability of homeowners and agricultural and business concerns to install solar energy systems.” Additionally, “Review of the application to install a solar energy system shall be limited to the building official’s review of whether it meets all health and safety requirements of local, state, and federal law.”
  9. Q: Are there reporting requirements?
    A: Following the adoption and launch of a qualifying permitting platform, the Energy Commission may request annual data relating to this program. Requested data would include the number of permits issued in a given period of time, as well as relevant characteristics of the permitted systems such as system capacity.
  10. Q: What if an application is not approved after submission?
    A: Applications that are rejected or achieve a “no pass” mark may submit a new application according to the requirements outlined in the solicitation. Applications that are re-submitted will be reviewed in order of when it was received based on the new submittal date or until funding is exhausted.

The CEC issues a notice of proposed award (NOPA) following approval of a grant application. The NOPA Grant List provides a list of applicants that have received a NOPA for a CalAPP Program grant and the award amounts. The list will also identify remaining funding available. The list will be updated at regular intervals, typically monthly.

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