With leadership from the Department of Energy, groups nationwide are working to reduce the time and cost associated with obtaining a solar permit. Here are some of the resources you might find helpful:
Solar Permitting Resources
- Detailed Solar Permitting Information by Municipality: Clean Power Finance’s SolarPermit.org database.
- Solar Permitting Reports: Clean Power Finance’s permitting study, IREC’s permitting report, the National Renewable energy Lab’s permitting report, or Solar 3.0’s solar cost portal.
- Solar permitting fact sheet
- Structural Code Considerations: Traditional rooftop strength analyses often use an overly conservative methodology that underestimates its load-carrying capacity, thus delaying or even blocking solar installation. Tests from Sandia National Lab and the University of New Mexico indicates that the actual load-bearing capacity for residential rooftops is several times higher than published values. This new tool and dataset can be used to make rooftop solar permitting less onerous.
Resources for Local Governments
- Resources for Permitting Department Staff: IREC’s online FREE permitting training, or Sandia National Laboratories’ multimedia tutorials for code inspectors.
- Resources for Implementing Project Permit Best Practices: IREC and Vote Solar’s white paper on permitting best practices, Optony’s Solar Roadmap software, IREC’s permitting checklist guidelines, the Solar America Board for Codes and Standards (Solar ABCs) guide to expedited solar permitting, ICLEI’s – permitting resources for municipalities, and Simply Civic’s online permitting software.
- Regional and Statewide Permitting Case Studies: IREC’s fact sheet on regional consistency is a good primer. Also, check out New York State’s Unified Permit Process, California’s Solar Permitting Guidebook, California’s East Bay regional permitting portal. Also North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association and North Carolina Solar Center have developed a Template Solar Energy Development Ordinance for North Carolina that other states could replicate.