- The Solar Permitting Efficiency Act (AB 2188) has passed California’s Senate 22-1 and its Assembly 66-1, and is expected to be quickly signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.
- The bill, which requires cities and counties to adopt ordinances that make residential rooftop solar system permitting and inspection more uniform and faster, was designed to streamline and standardize the permitting process statewide and save solar buyers $1,000 or more on installations.
- The bill was written by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) after officials from Torrance’s Verengo Solar told him some jurisdictions’ bureaucratic red tape can delay installations by 65 days.
Competition that produced manufacturing efficiencies has steadily driven down solar hard costs since 2006 while soft costs, like those from delays in permitting and interconnection, have remained nearly unchanged because California’s 500-plus jurisdictions have an array of non-uniform processes and codes that are painstakingly slow to work through.
Solar advocates say complex bureaucratized permitting can readily be standardized and delays can be minimized because residential rooftop installations vary relatively little.
AB 2188 prohibits homeowner associations from imposing restrictions that would add more than $1,000 to solar installation costs. A Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study found permitting procedure efficiencies could cut installation costs up to $1,000.