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California’s Efficient Permit Licensing Helps Residential Solar Expand

JackSawyer MA, United States 0 Ratings 23 Discussions 0 Group posts

Posted by: JackSawyer // Student

California has been leading the country in solar energy consumption and looks to continue this impressive achievement as it implements new progressive policies like “The Expedited Solar Permitting Act” (Solar Bill AB 2188) which was implemented in 2014. The law gave “cities and counties in the state a September 2015 deadline to establish a fast, streamlined permitting process for residential solar systems of 10 kilowatts or smaller.” (Hirji) The results of this act have had a significant effect on pushing solar and recently has seen the state managing to get permits approved in less than 24 hours.

It has been almost a year since cities and counties have had the chance to meet the September deadline and since then permit simplification has helped increase solar adoption drastically. For example, San Jose simplified its solar permit review and approval process under the new act last August, and since then, has made it significantly easier for citizens of the city to obtain a permit. Subsequently, the city has seen a near 600 percent increase in permit applications and approvals over the previous year. Clearly streamlining the permit work has helped make the decision to go solar easier and not only this, but the law has also helped cut soft costs.

Soft costs, expense items like legal costs, have been cut down on thanks to the simplified process too. California residents can save $40 by getting their permits online, this and other soft savings are important because according to a 2013 study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory “Soft costs account for more than half of residential solar costs” (Hirji). In addition to savings on soft costs, the bill has also created a number of new jobs. Because of the need to be fast and efficient in processing and carrying out these permits, cities have increased the number of trained inspectors.

The bill seems to have had a truly positive effect all around and is a prime example of how clean energy legislation can bring a plethora of beneficial attributes to a state's transition to sustainable energy and help its economy. What do you think about California’s solar legislation? What will be the next catalyst to help push solar further?


HIRJI, ZAHRA. "California Cities Are Making It Faster, and Cheaper, to Install Rooftop Solar." California's Fast-Track Solar Permits Let the Sun Shine In Faster-and Cheaper. N.p., 29 July 2016. Web. 02 Aug. 2016. <https://insideclimatenews.org/news/29072016/california-fast-track-solar-permits-let-sun-shine-faster-cheaper-san-jose-los-angeles>.

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