A solar array is going up on a roof of a home or business in the U.S. every four minutes — by one estimate — but getting them hooked up to the grid can take a lot longer. And as the demand grows for photovoltaic solar panels, the processing, approval and connection is becoming a bigger issue and potential barrier.”Addressing this is critical to widespread adoption of PV,” said Kristen Ardani, co-author of a National Renewable Energy Laboratory study of the time it takes to apply for and hook-up home and small-business systems to the grid.Ardani’s study — based on data from 87 utilities in 16 states — found that while the average time from application to connection to be 53 business days, in Colorado it was 60 business days.The installation of the panels on a roof took two to four days of that time.Another NREL study warned that permitting, inspection and interconnection delays could become “a market barrier that can deter project completion entirely.”Faced with the growing list of homeowners opting for solar, Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest electricity supplier, and the state’s main trade group, the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association, have taken steps aimed at speeding approvals.”We are growing into a new era of solar in Colorado,” said John Bringenberg, a COSEIA board member. “Our systems have to change with it.” Rooftop solar is soaring in Colorado and across the nation, which saw a record 6,201 megawatts of installations in 2014, a 30 percent increase over 2013, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.Annual home installations in Colorado more than doubled between 2012 and 2014 to 42 megawatts. In May, Xcel Energy launched a new online, cloud-computing-based portal for its customers and panel installers to file applications.The utility’s “legacy system” couldn’t keep up, said Lee Gabler, Xcel’s director of energy efficiency and renewable energy.Parts of the filing are now automated; signatures can be done electronically. High marksSolar installers and industry representatives give Xcel’s new system high marks.”It is much more transparent and enables you to track projects,” said Dan Yechout, residential solar sales director for Boulder-based installer Namaste Solar.Using the portal, … – Click Here To Visit Article Source