Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) launched Senate Invoice 379, the Photo voltaic Entry Act. SB 379 implements prompt, on-line photo voltaic allowing in counties with over 150,000 residents. This laws will significantly lower approval instances for residential photo voltaic and solar-plus-storage methods, lower allowing prices for native governments and owners, and assist California meet its greenhouse fuel emission discount objectives. SB 379 is co-sponsored by SPUR and Setting California.
Local weather change is a dire menace, and California should speed up its transition to wash power with the intention to meet its goal to turn into carbon impartial by 2045. Widespread set up of residential photo voltaic methods has helped push California in the direction of these objectives. Nonetheless, whereas the price of photo voltaic expertise has decreased lately, the excessive prices related to set up — together with native allowing and inspection necessities — have remained prohibitive for a lot of. Delays because of lengthy allow and inspection wait instances additionally damage photo voltaic implementation throughout the state. Automated allowing solves each of those points; the Photo voltaic Entry Act will permit California to implement a well timed and complete answer.
The Nationwide Renewable Vitality Laboratory (NREL), a venture inside the U.S. Division of Vitality, has created a free-to-use program to help native governments with residential photo voltaic and solar-plus-storage system allowing. SolarAPP+ gives a web-based portal that streamlines and automates allow opinions, and will be simply applied into present native authorities allowing software program. The Photo voltaic Entry Act requires counties with greater than 150,000 residents, and all cities inside these counties, to implement prompt on-line allowing for photo voltaic and photo voltaic + storage methods, by way of packages like SolarAPP+. The requirement will go into impact beginning September 30, 2024 for cities underneath 50,000 residents, and September 30, 2023 for cities over 50,000 residents. The California Vitality Fee (CEC) is getting ready a program to deploy $20 million in grants to assist cities and counties undertake on-line automated allowing methods resembling SolarAPP+.
NREL first launched SolarAPP+ in late 2020 and has slowly expanded this system’s capabilities. Many native jurisdictions, together with Nice Hill, Sonoma County, San Jose, and Los Angeles have already begun implementation of automated allowing with nice success. Nice Hill has decreased their common allow overview time to zero days (same-day approval) since adopting SolarAPP+ for instantaneous automated allowing.
“When laws make it unnecessarily tough for folks to rapidly set up photo voltaic and storage methods, it hurts everybody,” Senator Wiener stated. “It hurts those that need to set up photo voltaic. And it hurts communities throughout California, that are being negatively impacted by local weather change. We have to make it simpler for folks to make use of renewable power – that’s only a no-brainer. Expediting photo voltaic allowing is one thing we are able to do to make this a actuality.”