SunRun, the nation’s leading home solar company, has released anofficial report on how local governments can save $1 billion over thenext five years and make solar affordable for 50 percent of Americanhomes. The report, “The Impact of Local Permitting on the Cost of Solar Power,” reveals that inconsistent local solar permitting and inspection processes add an average of over $2,500 per home installation. A direct response to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) request for granular dataon non-equipment solar costs, the report specifies how the DOE can takeimmediate action to solve local permitting problems and reduceunnecessary costs.
“Every city and town has its own set of regulations and requirementsfor solar installations. Our research identifies inconsistencies inlocal permitting as one of the most critical roadblocks to asustainable, subsidy-free solar industry,” said SunRun CEO andCo-founder Edward Fenster. “To tackle this challenge head-on, the DOEcan use existing guidelines it has already funded to standardize localpermitting and deliver the equivalent of a new $1 billion solar subsidyover five years.”
In the report, solar installers nationwide say repeatedly that localpermitting is the most stubborn cost they face, preventing them frommaking solar affordable for millions of Americans. By comparison,countries such as Germany have simpler processes that keep solarinstallation costs 40 percent lower than in the United States. Germanyreports about one million new home solar power installations in the past two years alone, whereas the total number of homes ever to go solar inthe United States has just broken 120,000. SunRun’s report recommendsthe DOE lead a new Residential Solar Permitting Initiative, startingwith high-volume cities that impact more than 50 percent of the solarmarket. The recommendations include a contest with grant rewards forcities that make the most effective and comprehensive improvements.
“Local permitting red tape keeps solar off of millions of Americanhomes and businesses and seriously jeopardizes our ability to becompetitive with entrenched fossil fuels,” said Rhone Resch, presidentand CEO of SEIA. “Policymakers need to recognize that these additionalcosts put an undue burden on new, clean technologies like solar that are trying to create jobs in the U.S.”
Endorsements for SunRun’s report underscore the industry’s sense ofurgency when it comes to standardizing the permitting process. Acoalition of 22 leading installers from across the country endorse thereport, including HelioPower, as well as industry organizations such as The Sierra Club, SolarTech,and Vote Solar. The report is currently under review with the DOE andavailable at www.sunrunhome.com/permitting.
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