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News From the East Bay Green Corridor

GREEN CORRIDOR RECEIVES $140,000 DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY AWARD

On September 1st, 2011, the Department of Energy announced a SunShot Initiative grant of $2.5 million over 3 years to SolarTech’s industry consortium to develop a scalable national platform for solar PV (photovoltaic) permitting, inspection and interconnection by states, utilities and local jurisdictions.

The Green Corridor will receive approximately $140,000 of the award to serve as a pilot site for establishing a regional standardized solar permitting process and contribute “best in class” tools by contributing data, offering solutions for addressing a variety of city processes, recommending policy guidelines and developing transition plans from current to more uniform systems.

The partnership, led by SolarTech, also includes the Underwriters Laboratories, International Association of Electrical Inspectors, Solar America Board for Codes and Standards, Rocky Mountain Institute, Solar Electric Power Association, ICLEI, SRA/International, Vote Solar and Solar Sonoma County. 

The Green Corridor has already surveyed and documented current solar permitting practices throughout its 8 cities about communication methods, permit review processes, training and fees, plus barriers to overcome. Building and permitting officials have begun to identify technical and procedural improvements and key areas of consistency, plus costs necessary for full implementation.

Green Corridor solar industry giants Sun Light & Power, Sungevity, Sun Power, REC Solar and Solar City concur that a streamlined permitting process has great potential to boost the market, bring benefits to more homeowners, and add workers to the payroll.

A study by AECOM supports this claim, stating, “...solar permitting reform would generate an improvement of approximately 18 percent in the overall economic impact associated with the residential solar industry, with a corresponding increase of approximately 18 percent in new jobs.” For the PG&E territory alone, that would mean 840 average new jobs in a given year!

With the continued support from the region’s 8 Mayors, and active engagement from local governments, the Green Corridor anticipates adoption of recommended guidelines by early next year. In addition to solar PV, this could have a huge benefit on other regional permitting needs in the Green Corridor, such as for Electric Vehicle infrastructure.

Please see East Bay Express article, Slashing the Solar Power Paperwork.


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