Permitting and inspections are notoriously tedious tasks. In the rooftop solar industry, they’re also very costly — even though industry members say they don’t need to be.
To fix the issue, the Solar Energy Industries Association and The Solar Foundation today launched the Solar Automated Permit Processing initiative, which is designed to streamline permitting and slash the cost of installing solar on homes and businesses. The new endeavor comes as one of the largest solar industry conferences in North America, Solar Power International, kicks off this week in Anaheim, California.
“Reforming the solar and battery permitting process is one of the most significant steps our country can take to making solar more affordable for all,” said Lynn Jurich, CEO of Sunrun, in a statement. “There is a patchwork of inconsistent permitting procedures and standards across the U.S. and our customers pay the high costs of navigating this system. We have an opportunity to help the industry invest in a million more solar roofs over the next five years from the savings from making the permitting process faster, while ensuring safety and reliability.”
Cumbersome and inconsistent permitting and inspection processes can add around three months to the build-out of a residential solar installation and around $7,000 in direct and indirect costs, or around $1.00 per watt.
That $1 is significant. Residential solar installation prices in the U.S. currently range between $3.00 and $3.50 per watt (in some locations prices are even lower, while Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory just pegged median residential 2017 costs at $3.70 per watt). Soft costs, including customer acquisition, permitting, financing and installing rooftop solar, make up a disproportionate amount of the total solar price. [click for full article]