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Solar Permit Bill Heading to Governor's Desk

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Here comes the sun in Sacramento | Photo: duluoz cats/Flickr/Creative Commons License

A bill that would make it a lot easier to get permits to put solar on your roof is headed for the Governor's desk, having been passed by both houses of the California Legislature.

The bill, AB 2188, which ReWire reported on earlier this month, would set simple statewide standards that would cut the mounting red tape property owners face when they try to pull building permits for solar panel installation.

"Many jurisdictions in the state have adopted best practices that have significantly cut down on permitting wait times, while maintaining important public health and safety standards," said bill author Al Muratsuchi, who represents Torrance in the state Assembly. "It's time that we expand these practices statewide, which will help make solar more affordable and increase access to more California homeowners who want to control their electricity bills and generate their own clean energy."

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The bill's supporters in the solar advocacy world estimate that AB 2188 will knock around $1,000 off the cost of a typical household solar installation, and speed the process by about a month.

"Your typical home solar energy system has become practically cookie-cutter," said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director with the California Solar Energy Industries Association. "From Chico to Chula Vista, we're talking about the exact same product, design, and installation, yet many building departments require byzantine permits as if they are installing a nuclear power plant."

The bill now heads to Governor Jerry Brown for a signature, which given the governor's public call to get rid of obstacles to solar installation, is generally considered to be a slam dunk.

For ongoing environmental coverage in March 2017 and afterward, please visit our show Earth Focus, or browse Redefine for historic material.
KCET's award-winning environment news project Redefine ran from July 2012 through February 2017.

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