Permitting and inspection is an area where local governments can have a major impact on the cost of going solar for residents and businesses. Thousands of dollars can be added to a solar system’s price tag due to the time and expenses involved for a solar installation company to obtain a construction permit and permission to operate. Lengthy permitting timelines can result in homeowners and small businesses backing out of contracts, forcing installers to pass sunk costs on to other customers. In short, the permitting process literally makes or breaks solar deals.
This is why Permitting & Inspection is a foundational category of the designation criteria for SolSmart. In addition to other requirements, local governments must earn at least 20 points in Permitting and Inspection to achieve Bronze-level designation; provide training for permitting and inspection staff to earn Silver; and commit to a turnaround of three business days or less for small rooftop permits to achieve Gold.
Automated solutions for permitting solar PV and storage systems are an emerging best practice for local governments to streamline, and improve the accuracy, of permitting and inspections. Communities that use an automated permitting process can earn up to 100 points or more toward SolSmart designation. An automated process also makes it easy for the community to meet SolSmart’s Gold-level requirement of committing to a turnaround of three business days or less on small rooftop solar permits.
The new flyer provides some initial guidance for communities considering how automated permitting can help achieve SolSmart designation. It includes a table to show how an automated permitting process can assist with meeting SolSmart criteria. This may also be helpful to Bronze or Silver designees seeking to “level up” to a higher designation.
If your community is involved in the SolSmart designation process, the technical assistance team would be happy to provide further guidance.
Interested in finding out more about how SolSmart can help your community? Contact the SolSmart team today.