Over the years, the industry has focused on reducing the costs of technology in order to make solar more affordable to the masses. The reduction of so-called “soft costs” will be the next step in refining solar costs further. At this year’s Solar Power International Convention, SEIA (Solar Energy Industries Association) will unveil a plan to streamline the permitting process.
The proposal, which is called Solar Automated Permitting Process Initiative, will include a universal online platform that municipalities can use for free to register and automatically screen solar systems. It will include the refinement of requirements for solar permitting, making them more universal. The proposal also includes a program where installers can be certified to qualify that their own systems are compliant
Green Power Energy usually provides homeowners with a window of 8 to 12 weeks to start the installation process. They finish the building and electrical design with their architects and electricians within 2 weeks. The company’s administrators complete all the necessary utility paperwork within 2 weeks as well. The rest of the time is spent waiting on the township to approve the installation process.
SEIA’s Solar Automated Permitting Process Initiative will benefit a lot of homeowners and installers. Solar permitting is a time consuming and cost prohibitive process. It requires multiple zoning, building, and electrical permits. This means that homeowners have to prepare 3 different full paperwork packages for one small construction project. The inspection and permitting process can cost around $7,000. Homeowners also need to consider the time to complete the paperwork, delivery of solar panels and the time spent by a qualified professional to sit in their driveway and wait for hours for a town official to arrive.
The Solar Automated Permitting Process Initiative will streamline permitting and cut the cost of solar panel installations. The proposal will also help in maintaining the reliability and safety of solar panels. It will provide a list of certified equipment and/or established equipment standards for storage and solar projects installed via the proposed process. The proposal will also include a skills and safety certification and training program that will allow small commercial and residential battery storage and solar installers to prove that their projects adhere to industry practices, applicable codes, and laws, which will eliminate the need for a multi-step permitting process. There will also be a program administrator to implement and supervise the plan as well as provide technical assistance to local and state utilities and jurisdictions.
The automated solar permitting process will not only cut unnecessary costs but also allow people to choose how to meet their energy needs. This will make solar installations more affordable, which is particularly beneficial to those who don’t want to rely on the grid. Solar panel installation is exceptionally convenient as their appliances will work even when there’s a power interruption.
Green Power Energy looks forward to seeing this program rolled out, so it can save homeowners even more money. Both homeowners and installers will benefit from SEIA’s Solar Automated Permitting Process Initiative.