City of San Diego Fast-Tracks Deployment of e-PlanREVIEW® Online Plan Review Tool for Residential Rooftop Solar PV - e-PlanSoft

April 28, 2020by e-PlanSoft™ Team

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Irvine, CA: The City of San Diego Development Services Department (DSD) went live with the first phase of e-PlanSoft’s electronic plan review software, e-PlanREVIEW®.  Integrated into the City’s already existing online permitting system, e-PlanREVIEW® will augment the plan review process within the permitting workflow which will enable customers to apply for permits, pay fees, and receive permits seamlessly online by allowing the City reviewers to access the submitted plans for plan approvals. The application had been in development, and its implementation expedited in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“DSD is shifting how it traditionally conducts business to a more modern and technology-oriented way of operation and issuing permits electronically for residential solar projects is one of the many steps being taken,” said DSD Director Elyse Lowe. “DSD aims to accelerate implementation in response to COVID-19 to eliminate the need for customers to carry in hard copies of plans by completely transitioning to online permitting.”

Residential solar photovoltaic (PV) system installations help the City meet renewable energy goals that are detailed in the City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP). The CAP details the City’s environmentally focused goals, which include all electricity being provided by renewable energy sources in addition to the reduction of all greenhouse gas emissions in the City by 2035. e-PlanSoft™ will facilitate residential solar photovoltaic (PV) applications to be completed fully electronic and help speed up the permit review and issuance time. The City is anticipating an increase in applications in response to the California Solar Mandate that went into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

A key beneficial feature of e-PlanREVIEW® is its integration with the City’s Accela online permitting tool. In addition to meeting solar mandate requirements, the City’s use of e-PlanREVIEW® to provide a fully electronic submittal process for residents has led to an elimination of associated printing costs for San Diego customers, and a reduction of paper waste, which helps aligns with the City’s waste goals. Thanks to this integration, applicants no longer need to deliver physical hard copies when their PV projects can now be submitted online.

This new process is beneficial to the City of San Diego residents and city workers for other reasons as well. As the work from home mandates continue to be enforced across the U.S. to prevent the spread of COVID-19, companies are looking for ways to reduce travel time needed for employees and still promote efficient workplace strategies. Accessible in a secure cloud network, the e-PlanREVIEW® software is accessible to DSD employees remotely without installation required, and the software’s multi-user capability means employees can concurrently conduct plan review efficiently without having to step foot inside the building as well.

“The switch to a fully electronic submittal of residential PV projects will make use of a newly upgraded, user-friendly and streamlined version of an online permit process previously used for these types of projects,” shared Kelly Charles, DSD Interim Deputy Director/Chief Building Official. “It’s amazing to see what this kind of technology can do considering that it has already cut the time it takes to set up and issue permits by 60% when compared to the processing time it took for paper submittals.”

Statistics to consider:

  • Since 2016, the San Diego Development Services Office has issued between 10,000 and 13,000 residential PV permit approvals each year.
  • More than 1/3 of all submittals were previously done with paper.
  • This e-PlanREVIEW® implementation projects to annually save 225,000+ sheets of paper and associated costs

The City of San Diego is also very focused on environmental preservation practices. This solution for electronic PV submittals diverts waste initially intended for local recycling centers and landfills, which falls in line with the City’s Zero Waste Plan as well. San Diego is one of the leaders in the nation in terms of innovative ways to conserve energy and water. e-PlanSoft™ is proud to help the City in this effort at a time when electronic submittals are crucial to continuing development services in this everchanging world.

About the City of San Diego:

The City of San Diego is known for being a leader in scientific innovations, environmentally friendly initiatives, and beautifully distinct neighborhoods. With an estimated population of 1.54 million residents, the City is home to the largest military community in the nation, is known worldwide as one of the best tourist destinations, and is a leading contributor in the field of biotechnology research.

About e-PlanSoft:

e-PlanSoft™ develops cloud-based electronic document review software that assists governmental agencies, construction and manufacturing industries, developers and owners for their plan review, design review, product review, construction and asset review management in real-time.