San Francisco + San José + Oakland

Seeding a Low-Cost Rooftop Solar Stimulus

12:30 p.m. | Monday, March 1, 2021

Solar panels on a rooftop in the Bay Area.

Photo by Christopher Ulrich 

As the country starts to reopen and organize around recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, local governments are looking for a low-cost stimulus that can provide good jobs and support communities. States and municipalities can unlock rooftop solar expansion and meet energy resilience, economic development and climate change goals all at once. This program will cover some of the solar-friendly policies featured in Environment America’s Shining Cities 2020 Report, including making permitting processes easy, quick, and affordable. Compared with Germany and Australia, solar in the United States is three times as expensive due to ‘soft costs’ caused by permitting delays. Some cities are taking advantage of online permitting tools. In 2016, for example, San Jose switched to online permitting and increased approved permits by 600%. In the last year cities in California and elsewhere have been piloting a new tool that standardizes and automates the permit approval process for rooftop solar projects – serving local needs while boosting solar and batteries. Come learn about the progress that's been made and how these changes could seed a low-cost green stimulus in the years ahead.

Co-presented by Environment America

+ Susannah Parsons / SPUR
+ Ben Sonnega / Environment America 
+ Jeff Cook / National Renewable Energy Laboratory  




SPUR Digital Discourse
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