Support the 10 Million Solar Roofs Act 0

Would you like to see 10 million American rooftops with solar on them? Of course you would! The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is asking for our help to encourage Senate to vote on a very important piece of legislation. If your company supports the goal of reducing permitting times and costs, please consider adding your name to this letter and email back to SEIA’s Katherine Gensler:

Time is of the essence –  all letters must be emailed by close of business on Wednesday, May 30th, so please act now!

May 30, 2012

The Honorable Harry Reid
Majority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Republican Leader
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Leaders Reid and McConnell:

On behalf of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the national trade association for the U.S. solar industry, and the undersigned leaders in the solar marketplace, we are writing to you in support of S. 1108, the 10 Million Solar Roofs Act of 2011.  This legislation, introduced by U.S. Senator Bernard Sanders (I-VT) and U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), was favorably reported by the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on December 15, 2011 by a bipartisan 13-8 margin.  We respectfully ask that you allow for floor consideration of this common-sense proposal as soon as is possible.

Since 2006, the average installed price of photovoltaic (PV) solar systems has dropped significantly.  In 2011 alone, the price of solar panels dropped by 50 percent, and these price reductions, combined with innovative financing options, have removed financial barriers and made it easier for consumers to choose solar to power their homes and businesses.  However, varying local permitting and regulatory requirements – commonly referred to as “soft costs” – can add $0.50 per watt, or $2,500 per residential solar system.  This does nothing to improve the safety or quality for consumers, and serves as an unnecessary impediment to the further deployment of residential and commercial PV solar systems.

Standardizing and streamlining local permitting, inspection and zoning processes has the potential to significantly reduce regulatory burdens and unnecessary costs for consumers. Recognizing that states and localities often lack the resources to address this issue in a uniform fashion, S. 1108 directs the Department of Energy (DOE) to provide grants to localities to encourage the development, adoption and implementation of best practices for solar permitting.  Participation in the program provided for in S. 1108 is completely voluntary, and would reward jurisdictions that work with various stakeholders to achieve improved standardization, efficiency and uniformity. By developing best practices to reflect the needs of various jurisdictions and markets, adoption of S. 1108 will give localities nationwide access to important tools and processes they can utilize to reduce administrative costs and, ultimately, costs to consumers.

The expanded deployment and use of solar PV technology expands energy choices for consumers and is consistent with a national energy strategy that encourages job creation, economic growth, and the domestic development of a diverse, abundant and affordable supply of energy.  Reducing solar permitting and regulatory costs, as would be achieved by S. 1108, the 10 Million Solar Roofs Act of 2011, is in the nation’s best interest and in the best interest of energy consumers.

Again, we encourage you to provide for floor consideration of S. 1108 in an expedited fashion. Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request, and we look forward to working constructively with you to enact this worthwhile proposal.

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