A three year quest to make publicly available data easier to manage


SolarPermit.org - The National Solar Permitting Database

Back in 2012, I was recruited take on a three year open source project.  It was quite a ride, and the resulting software has been extremely useful in reducing labor costs associated with duplicated effort within the residential solar industry.  The project was released on GitHub under a BSD 3-Clause license and continues to serve a small niche market with about 2,000 active users every month.  SolarPermit's API is used to power several pieces of third-party software including vote solar's Project Permit.  It's basically a Wikipedia for solar building permits that welcomes automation via API.

Primary Technologies

  • Python / Django
    • Python was chosen to prevent cross pollination with CPF's proprietary PHP codebase.
  • MySQL
  • HTML5
  • JQuery

Background Info

For background on the project, I suggest the following links:

My Role

I served as IT Project Manager in the "old-school" or "small business" sense, which means I interacted on all levels of the project.

  • Software Design
  • Data Structures
  • Development, Code Reviews and Approvals
  • API Design and Development
  • Systems Administration

Current Status

It's not currently under active development due to lack of funding, and that its niche is tiny; however, I expect it to continue to serve users through 2020.  CPF will support it at least for that long, and all the tedious stuff like deployments and monitoring have been automated via devops. I'm tempted to port it to PHP to see if a lower "barrier to entry" would attract developers from its user base.