Charge actual costs for permits and inspections with a cap on the total
a. Cap total permit costs at a flat fee of $250 or less for standard residential systems: 100 points
b. Adopt a method of allowing systems that meet standard engineering calculations based on your community’s wind and snow loads to be exempt from providing a separate P.E. Stamp on each system. For example, the jurisdiction could require systems to adhere to standard engineering calculations on file with the jurisdiction. Document the system used and post an explanation online: 50 points
c. Exempt rooftop solar systems from sales or use taxes to encourage citizens to go solar: 50 points
Fees and costs associated with permitting and inspecting solar PV can create significant barriers to adoption. In some cases, these costs do not reflect the actual time and work associated with the process. By capping the fees and/or charging actual costs, the economics of solar improve.
- Colorado has a state law that caps solar permitting fees:
- Some cities have gone farther to reduce solar fees such as the city of Denver which caps fees at $50.
- In Sacramento, CA, installers pay a graduated flat fee for all commercial and residential systems and residential solar thermal projects. In the year since the city started cutting solar fees, permits more than doubled.
How to make it happen
First, understand the specifics of your jurisdiction’s cost methodology for setting permitting and inspection fees.
Engineering stamp requirements can add several hundred dollars to each rooftop solar system. Some jurisdictions create exemptions for systems that meet standard engineering calculations. Perhaps your jurisdiction could develop a standard, based on wind and snow loads, and allow systems that meet the standard to be exempt from a separate engineering stamp.