Sens. Collins, Heinrich introduce bill to standardize permitting for distributed energy

Published on September 11, 2019 by Dave Kovaleski

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U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced a bill to provide state and local governments with tools to standardize the permitting process for distributed energy technologies, such as rooftop solar and battery storage.

The bill, the American Energy Opportunity Act, provides new voluntary tools for state and local governments to facilitate immediate permitting processes that standardize and automate applications for residents and businesses. It would help communities reduce costs and administrative burdens, attract business investment, and promote economic development. It could also pave the way for a voluntary national certification program for installers.

“Solar energy is a proven and powerful tool in the fight against climate change,” Collins said. “The American Energy Opportunity Act would help spur the adoption of this technology by providing beneficial tools to streamline the permitting process at the municipal level, which will help drive down the hidden costs of installing rooftop solar. This bill, coupled with the BEST Act we introduced earlier this year to promote next-generation energy storage, holds the potential to unleash the promise of clean, renewable energy throughout the country.”

The bill has the backing of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

“This bill is a win-win-win for consumers, local governments, and clean energy businesses. Local governments and building inspectors don’t always have the resources they need to go from permitting a kitchen remodel to permitting a solar system,” Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, said. “This bill will provide tools to improve the solar permitting process across the nation, reducing costs for consumers while enhancing safety and quality. This means more people and businesses can deploy solar faster and better.”