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Use a Standard Permit

2. Offer a standard permit form that is eligible for streamlined review for standard residential or small commercial rooftop flush-mounted systems:

(275 Points)

a. Adopt the Solar ABC’s Expedited Permit Process for PV Systems. This national standard of procedures and forms was developed by experts and provides a way for communities to adopt a national standard: 225 points

 

OR: Use a standard form for PV systems eligible for expedited permitting in your community: 50 points

Examples: Sample form for solar PV system under 10K   City of Fort Collins Permit Form

 

OR: Use the national standard Solar ABC’s Expedited Permit Process electrical plans diagram that outlines electrical requirements and explains how the system will be put together. Incorporate into your community’s permit forms: 100 points

 

Additional Example: Expedited Permit Process for PV Systems – Standard String System

 

OR: For communities within the jurisdiction of the State Electrical Board, use  a standard form for structural review of PV systems eligible for expedited permitting in your community: 100 points

 

b. Authorize plan checkers to communicate electronically with installers for speedy resolution of issues that arise: 25 points

 

c. Designate one primary point of contact for installers with questions on standard permits even if multiple departments are reviewing: 25 points

 

Reasoning
When each jurisdiction uses an entirely different set of processes, solar professionals have to spend time and money learning each one. By standardizing solar permitting, jurisdictions can streamline and expedite the process. As everyone involved gets used to using the same procedures, the quality of applications should rise and the time required for review should drop.
Also, designating one person in your jurisdiction to be the primary lead on solar energy will help with coordination.

 

Example:

Solar ABC’s Expedited Permit Process for PV Systems provides a national standard of procedures developed by experts. Moving toward this standard can help the industry move forward while ensuring that installations are done according to best practices.

 

More about the Expedited Permit Process is available in this report:

  • IREC’s report on various approaches to permitting around the country is a helpful resource for communities of varied sizes. Click here for more information.
     

How to make it happen

Check out Solar ABCs and see how these processes compare to your existing permitting process and whether your jurisdiction could make modifications that comply. If it is not possible to adopt the whole process, perhaps your community would like to use the standard electric diagram included in the expedited permitting report.

Additionally, designating one primary point of contact for installers to ask questions about standard permits can be a big time-saver for all concerned.

Even if these are not possible, perhaps you can authorize plan checkers to electronically communicate with contractors if an issue comes up. This an save both parties valuable time.