Solar industry association launches initiative to streamline permit process

Published on September 26, 2018 by Dave Kovaleski

© Shutterstock

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and The Solar Foundation launched a new project to streamline the permitting process.

The Solar Automated Permit Processing is designed to alleviate cumbersome and inconsistent permitting and inspection processes for solar installations. It will also save money for customers. The permitting and inspection process adds about $7,000 in direct and indirect costs to a typical residential solar energy system.

“The goal is to make solar permitting more straightforward, and more routine, while at the same time maintaining the safety and reliability that U.S. solar projects are known for,” SEIA President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper said. “SolarAPP will cut unnecessary red tape while saving Americans thousands of dollars. By making the process of going solar more efficient, both our companies and their customers win.”

The initiative includes a model for instantaneous permitting for home and small-commercial solar and battery storage systems installed by certified installers and contractors.

“An automated solar permitting process will reduce unnecessary costs and give Americans more freedom to choose how they meet their energy needs,” Andrea Luecke, president and executive director at The Solar Foundation, said. “With this plan, we have a clear path forward to make solar installations even more affordable and widespread.”

It also includes a list of established equipment standards and certified equipment for solar and storage projects and the creation of system design standards for qualifying solar projects.

“Improving the permit process and removing this unnecessary cost is critical to the success of the industry,” Andrew Birch, co-founder of Oakland-based solar company Sungevity, said. “The major overseas markets are now expanding rapidly, thanks to simple, automated approval processes to install sold systems – we need all the industry’s support to focus on this and make it happen here in the U.S.”