Offer electronic or over-the-counter submittal and review options for standard systems
a. Offer electronic submittal, review and permit issuance: 150 points
OR: Offer over-the-counter submittal, review and permit issuance: 100 points
Electronic or over-the-counter submittal procedures can significantly cut down the time necessary for approval of permits, freeing up time for departments and installers.
Dozens of jurisdictions of various sizes from Denver to Santa Clara, CA offer over the counter permitting, enabling installers to walk in with an application and walk out with approval in one visit.
- Broward County,CA has worked with municipalities to implement online permitting. They provide a one-stop solar permitting process with a single application form, electronic review and approval, and flat fee that is being used by almost a dozen cities.
- San Jose, CA makes permitting fast and easy.
- San Francisco has implemented streamlined permitting.
- See Project Permit from Vote Solar and check out the scorecards of cities around the country.
- In Santa Clara, the city and the municipal utility have also jointly streamlined their procedures:
- The National Renewable Energy Laboratory compared California’s processes with Germany’s:
- The Department of Energy has developed a comprehensive document summarizing key actions that local governments can take to make their communities more solar friendly. Click here for more information.
How to make it happen
Initially, designate a staff member who is well versed in solar permitting issues who will be able to turn around approvals or denials in a timely fashion. Then see if it will work for your jurisdiction to move toward over-the-counter permitting. Depending on your computer systems, making the process electronic may be possible as well.