In the State of the Union this week, President Obama called for the United States to produce 80% of its electric power from clean energy by 2035. But how feasible is this? What are the major roadblocks standing in the way of solar power expansion?
According to many solar panel businesses, it is the lack of consistency in solar permits. As there is no common solar permit, the application process differs between cities, and even counties. Ken Button, the President of Verango Solar Plus, a residential solar panel installer in California, says that he has fifteen employees, “dedicated solely to researching and tailoring permit applications to meet the bureaucratic idiosyncrasies of the dozens of towns in the company’s market” (read more in this New York Time’s article). This current structure delays installations, adds costs, frustrates installers, and is time consuming and confusing for solar businesses.
A recent report by SunRun states that the permit process adds an average of $2,500 in costs to each installation. Streamlining this could provide a $1 billion stimulus to the residential and commercial solar power market over the next five years. Having a consistent process for all permits would eliminate extraneous fees and increase safety. The American Solar Energy Society looks at the other benefits of a common permit application.
Would a national permit application help move us toward President Obama’s goal? Join the discussion on our LinkedIn page!