The Newspaper of the San Francisco Bay Chapter
March - April 2007
Cities lighten solar-permit fees
Sierra Club study prompts cities to reduce solar costs
Making solar power affordable is key to widespread adoption. This is why Sierra Club volunteers from the Loma Prieta, Bay, and Redwood Chapters surveyed Bay Area cities to document permit fees charged for residential solar electric systems - and to publicize the results widely in local and regional newspapers.
The demand for solar energy may be rising, but permit costs are dropping, as mayors, city managers, and building officials respond to public requests to review solar-inspection fees and cut them to cost-recovery levels (state law requires minimum solar permit fees). Some cities, such as Fairfax and Ross, encourage solar power by waiving fees. Others cover inspection costs with a $200 to $300 charge.
Since the Bay Chapter launched its campaign last July, 14 cities have lowered solar fees and one (Antioch) has raised them (see chart). Five more with excessive fees (such as El Cerrito at $840) are reviewing them. Hopefully these cities too will take action. We forecast that all Bay Area cities with solar fees over $600 will reduce them over the next few months.
This is what has happened in the Loma Prieta Chapter (Santa Clara, San Mateo, and San Benito Counties), which started its campaign in the fall of 2005. Since then the average has been cut in half from $652 to $295. In one year, all of the 20 cities with fees over $600 reduced them substantially, 13 to our recommended level of $300 or less.
See full Sierra Club solar-permit-fee study and campaign.
© 2007 San Francisco Sierra Club Yodeler
|EXPLORE, ENJOY AND PROTECT THE PLANET|