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Clean Energy, Faster

America Has a Solar Red-Tape Nightmare. Here’s How to Fix It

Permitting rules for residential solar panels vary around the US, but SolarAPP+, a new system for communities to adopt, helps cut bureaucracy.

How to Fix America's Solar Red-Tape Nightmare
Photo illustration: Stephanie Davidson; Photos: Getty (3)

The invasion of Ukraine has put the US and Europe on a wartime mission to abandon Russian fossil fuels. This series looks at speeding up zero-carbon alternatives by lowering political and financial barriers. Sign up here to get the next story sent to your inbox.

Lengthy power outages caused by hurricanes, wildfires and even deep freezes are spurring more Americans to place solar panels atop their homes. The appeal of energy resilience amid ever-common climate crises is mounting. Last year was a record-breaking year for US residential-solar installations. And yet only 4% of US houses are topped with panels—compared with about 25% in Australia.