Kelly, Heinrich, Cortez Masto, Padilla, and Wyden Introduce Bicameral Legislation to Help Homeowners Install New Renewable Energy Systems

As America’s demand for clean, reliable, and affordable energy grows, U.S. Senators Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Alex Padilla (D-CA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Streamlining Homeowner Installation of New Energies (SHINE) Act, legislation that will help state, local, and Tribal governments accelerate the permitting and inspection process for residents to install home energy systems, like rooftop solar.    

The SHINE Act directs the Department of Energy (DOE) to work with local authorities to adopt an online tool developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (SolarAPP+) that automates permitting and approvals of residential renewable energy systems, saving time, lowering utility costs, and creating new jobs in the transition to a clean energy future.  

“As Arizonans take advantage of new energy systems to save money and support a transition to clean energy, it is important that permits are swiftly processed,” said Sen. Kelly. “The SHINE Act will eliminate red tape, making it easier for governments to approve applications, saving homeowners and small business owners time and money.” 

“If we truly want to accelerate the transition to a clean energy future, we need to make it easier for everyone to install energy systems like rooftop solar and battery storage in their homes,” said Sen. Heinrich, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “By reducing the time it takes to approve rooftop solar and home energy systems, the SHINE Act will help to bring more people on board in the transition to a clean energy future — all while cutting costs and supporting new jobs New Mexicans can build their family around.”   

“We need to make it easier for Nevada businesses and homeowners to take advantage of our growing clean energy economy and tap in to the lower energy prices that solar panels can provide,” said Sen. Cortez Masto. “By cutting red tape and streamlining permitting processes, this legislation will lower costs, create jobs, and help support a more sustainable future.”   

“Streamlining the implementation of clean and renewable energy projects is vital to combating the climate crisis,” said Sen. Padilla. “Mirroring California’s efforts to expedite the process for homeowners to install solar and wind energy, as well as battery storage systems, the SHINE Act would provide crucial technical assistance to make renewable energy and battery storage more accessible.”  

“Each year, more Americans are installing solar panels and other clean energy products into their homes but local governments are struggling to streamline the permitting and inspection process for qualifying clean home energy systems,” said Sen. Wyden. “That’s why I’m proud to cosponsor the SHINE Act which would simplify the permitting process for homeowners and local governments and build on the clean energy tax credits I authored in the Inflation Reduction Act. Together, these two pieces of legislation would create more green jobs in Oregon and nationwide and lower energy costs for homeowners.”  

U.S. Representatives Juan Ciscomani (R-AZ), Susie Lee (D-NV), and Paul Tonko (D-NY) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.    

“With an average 300 days of sunshine per year in our state, Arizonans deserve reliable and affordable access to solar energy. The SHINE Act works to cut bureaucratic red tape and streamline the permitting process for homeowners seeking to adopt solar energy systems, encouraging the use of this abundant, sustainable energy source,” said Rep. Ciscomani. 

“As one of the top ten states for solar in the nation, the clean energy transition is already well underway in Nevada. But permitting delays for rooftop solar and other residential energy systems are making this transition more costly and more time-consuming for homeowners, businesses, and local governments alike,” said Rep. Lee. “The SHINE Act is a launchpad for a proven permitting approach that will cut delays, save homeowners money, boost our small businesses, and maximize government efficiency – all at minimal expense to the taxpayer. That’s what I call a bipartisan no-brainer.”   

“Rooftop solar and other distributed energy resources present tremendous opportunities to build a more sustainable future; however, permitting barriers exist that add unnecessary costs and delays for homeowners,” said Rep. Tonko. “I am proud to support the SHINE Act to build upon DOE’s proven efforts to break down these barriers to ensure more efficient, cost-effective solar deployment. I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance this bipartisan, commonsense legislation.”  

Across the country, local governments are struggling to keep pace with the number of applications they are receiving for home energy systems like rooftop solar. When these permits take weeks, or even months, to process, it means higher prices, fewer local jobs, and a worse customer experience for homeowners.   

By adopting SolarAPP+, local authorities will help provide residents wishing to install home energy systems with a better customer experience, lower costs, and less wait time.    

Of the more than 15,000 local permitting jurisdictions across the country, less than 1% have adopted SolarAPP+ to date. Resources are necessary to scale up SolarAPP+ adoption, provide technical assistance, and make it self-sufficient and available to any local government within the U.S. that wants to streamline its permitting process. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates that rooftops on homes and small buildings in the U.S. can accommodate over 700 gigawatts of solar photovoltaic capacity, more than half of total electric generating capacity in the U.S. today. 

The SHINE Act is supported by Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA); Advanced Energy United; Renewable Energy Industries Association of New Mexico; Pima County, AZ; GRID Alternatives; Solar United Neighbors Action; Vote Solar; Sunrun; SunPower; Freedom Forever; GoodLeap; Sunnova Energy International Inc.; Mosaic; Colorado Solar and Storage Association; Summit Energy; TriSMART Solar; 1Solar; League of Conservation Voters; and Nevada Conservation League.  

“As we deploy clean and affordable solar energy at record pace, we need solutions that can help local governments handle the increase in solar permit applications. Now is not the time for red tape to hold back our clean energy progress. We commend Congress for championing legislation that will significantly expand the SolarAPP+ program and help more Americans benefit from streamlined, efficient rooftop solar permitting,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

A fact sheet of the SHINE Act can be found here

Bill text of the SHINE Act can be found here.