Streamlining Solar Permitting
Solar energy is a key component of California state and local government goals to achieve climate action plans and generate economic development. Generally, current solar permitting requirements create a barrier to low-cost, rapid deployment of solar energy. Streamlined permitting will result in reduced processing times and increased output for local governments and make more efficient use of resources.
In 2014, the state passed a new law, AB 2188 (Expedited Solar Permitting Act), that modifies the existing Solar Rights Act and requires each city or county to adopt an ordinance that creates an expedited solar permitting ordinance by September 30, 2015.
Local Implementation of the Solar Right Acts
AB 2188 modifies specific statutes that compose the Solar Rights Act. California cities and counties must adopt an ordinance that creates a streamlined, expedited permitting process for small residential rooftop solar energy systems by September 30, 2015. The new law requires cities and counties to substantially conform their expedited, streamlined permitting process to recommendations contained in the current version of the California Solar Permitting Guidebook.
AB 2188 requires
- Adoption of a checklist of all requirements for a system to be eligible for expedited review.
- Approval of an application where the jurisdiction determines that the application is complete and meets all prescribed requirements.
- The use of electronic signatures on relevant permitting documents unless a jurisdiction is unable to process them.
- Allows for electronic submittal of the expedited permit documents.
- A single inspection, subject to certain exceptions, that must be performed in a timely manner.
- Changes the definition of “significantly” in reference to determining whether a reasonable restriction significantly increases a cost or decreases efficiency for solar water heating systems and photovoltaic systems with regard to covenants, conditions or restrictions imposed by a common interest development (i.e., a homeowners association).