Solar Builder

NOV-DEC 2018

Solar Builder focuses on the installation/construction of solar PV systems. We cover the latest PV technology (modules, mounting, inverters, storage, BOS) and equip installers/contractors with tips and tools to make informed purchasing decisions.

Issue link: http://digital.solarbuildermag.com/i/1047902

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SOLARBUILDERMAG.COM | 9 T he cover feature of our previous issue, "Shadow Costs," looks prescient following our trip to Solar Power International (SPI) in Anaheim, Sept. 24-27. That article focused on the outdated local permitting and inefficient interconnection processes that unintentionally hold back the true solar market. Cut to SPI, and after a year of battling federal-level political decisions, the voices on stage and the conversations on the trade show floor indicate there is a renewed focus on working together and making progress at the local level. All solar is local — again Just before SPI kicked off, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and The Solar Foundation unveiled the Solar Automated Permit Processing (SolarAPP) initiative, which is the latest collective effort of the industry to streamline permitting. "Reforming the solar and battery permitting process is one of the most significant steps our country can take to making solar more affordable for all," said Lynn Jurich, CEO of Sunrun. "There is a patchwork of inconsistent permitting procedures and standards across the U.S., and our customers pay the high costs of navigating this system. We have an opportunity to help the industry invest in a million more solar roofs over the next five years from the savings by making the permitting process faster, while ensuring safety and reliability for all." Today, the permitting and inspection process adds about $7,000 in direct and indirect costs, approximately $1.00 per watt, to a typi- cal residential solar energy system. In addition to reducing the expense of solar installations, SolarAPP improves the efficiency of going solar by creating a rules-based, automated permitting and inspection process. Reforms include: ■ A safety and skills training and certification program that allows residential and small commercial solar and battery storage installers to attest that their projects are compliant with applica- ble codes, laws and industry practices, thus eliminating the need for a traditional multi-step permitting process; ■ A simple, standardized online platform that will be provided to local governments at no cost, to register and automatically screen qualifying systems for local government authorities; ■ A list of established equipment standards and/or certified equipment for solar and storage projects installed through the proposed process;

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