January 17, 2017

Sierra Club California honors volunteer for new laws on solar panels

Kurt Newick.

Kurt Newick.

On Nov. 10 volunteer Kurt Newick received Sierra Club California’s John Zierold Award recognizing an individual who has served Sierra Club California in the area of legislative advocacy. The award specifically honors Kurt’s efforts–and tremendous successes–in cutting the permit fees charged for installing new solar panels.

One of the satisfactions of being a Sierra Club volunteer is knowing that you have helped with some environmental victory. But few volunteers can boast of the achievement of Kurt Newick: two bills were signed into California law that would not have happened without him. They were the outcome of his hard work over seven years (see January-February 2011, page 4), and he helped draft them. Lots of other volunteers were involved, of course, but it was Kurt’s initiative, hard work, and expertise that made the laws possible. Kurt notes with appreciation, “There was always someone willing to work with me.”

The story goes back to 2005. Kurt, who works for a solar contractor, saw a problem that was discouraging people from installing photovoltaic solar panels. Every city and county charges a permit fee for a new solar system, but in many cases the fees were much greater than the costs involved in issuing the permit–and large enough to be a significant discouragement to homeowners and businesses considering an installation.

Kurt didn’t just grumble–he organized. He worked with the Global Warming and Energy Committee of the Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter to conduct a survey of the permit fees for residential solar installations in his chapter, and the committee then publicized the results and encouraged jurisdictions to cut high fees. The results were astounding–lots of cities started lowering their fees.

Kurt and the committee didn’t rest on their laurels. They extended the survey to include the Bay Chapter and several others (for a total of 25 counties), and to include commercial installations. The project depended on Kurt’s hard work–and on his insider’s knowledge of the solar business.

In 2011 state Sen. Mark Leno and Assemblymember Nora Campos  contacted Kurt for advice about statewide policies on the permit fees. They needed to be fair to enable cost-recovery for the cities, yet not so high as to discourage new installations. Kurt worked with legislative staff to craft bills. Along with Sierra Club California senior advocate Jim Metropulos, Kurt provided advice and presented amendments that the lawmakers included in the final bills.

“We were pleased to work with the Sierra Club and Kurt Newick on SB 1222, which helps streamline government bureaucracy to make solar more accessible to consumers,” said Leno. “Kurt’s extensive studies on solar fees statewide were the supporting basis for the bill. Our teamwork led to bipartisan support and will help ensure that the solar industry continues to generate investment and jobs in California.”

Kurt was invited to Sacramento to testify before legislative committees. Kurt comments: “I was impressed with the legislative process. It was important to the lawmakers to make the legislation simple, and fair to all parties.”

The two new laws are:

  • SB 1222 (Leno), which caps PV permit fees for rooftop systems by restricting a city or county from charging more for a solar permit than the estimated reasonable cost of providing the service for which the fee is charged, and providing specific limits on the dollar amount local governments may charge for a PV permit:
    •   residential systems: $500, plus $15 for every kilowatt (kW) over 15 kW;
    •   commercial systems: $1,000 for systems up to 50 kW, plus $7 for every kW between 51 kW and 250
    kW, plus $5 for every kW over 250 kW.
  • AB 1801 (Campos), which requires solar permit fees to be computed based on actual jurisdictional costs and specifically prohibits fees from being computed based on PV-system valuations. This will impact solar permit fees for all sizes and types of solar energy systems.

For more information on the Sierra Club’s solar-permit-fee campaign in California see www.SolarPermitFees.org.

Comments

  1. Thanks to those who are making solar permit fees more affordable and are streamlining the solar permit process!

    It is also critical that the permit issuance process be streamlined (accurate and prompt). One of the key next steps to is get the solar installers to use the Solar American Board of Codes and Standards (Solar ABCs) wiring diagram when submitting a PV permit, so jurisdictions have a consistently formatted technical set of documents to review with all the electrical info in the same format to enable fast and accurate plan reviews and permit approvals. An organization of Building Officials in the San Francisco Bay Area (the Tri-chapter Uniform Code Committee of the International Code Council) has approved solar PV permit submittal guidelines for grid-tied residential applications that now includes a version of the Solar ABCs wiring diagram! IMPORTANT: solar installers and cities are encouraged to use a version of this Solar ABCs wiring diagram for permit submittals.
    See http://www.SolarPermitFees.org/PVPermitGuidelines2010-07TUCC.pdf

  2. Kurt, as a participant in August Lobby Day for Sierra Club CA, we got the full run-down on your study that was the basis for the Leno bill- but as a member of your LP committee – I had already known about it. You deserve this award!!! Great Job!

    For more on Lobby Day and your connection to two of the bills see article on pg. 8 of Loma Prietan, Election Insight 2012: “Loma Prieta Chapter Volunteers Go To Capitol to Lobby for the Environment”

    ….”Senate Bill (SB) 1222, “Solar energy permits”, authored by Senator Mark Leno –
    stems from Loma Prieta chapter activist Kurt Newick & the Climate Change & Energy
    Committee’s study of permit fees on solar installations charged by Peninsula and South Bay cities…”
    (http://lomaprieta.sierraclub.org/sites/default/files/2012_LomaPrietan_Election_Issue.pdf)

  3. I just want to say I’m new to weblog and honestly savored you’re website. Very likely I’m going to bookmark your website . You definitely come with good well written articles. Thanks for revealing your website page.

  4. I simply intend to advise you that I am new to blogging and undeniably liked your site. Likely I am likely to save your blog post . You undoubtedly have fabulous article material. Get Pleasure From it for telling with us your favorite site page

  5. Super relaxed, Made in the USA as well as seeems to become keeping up well. I use that on a twin couch as well as view tv.

  6. It truly is near unattainable to come across well-aware americans on this subject, however you appear like you know exactly what you’re raving about! Cheers

  7. Hullo there, just started to be mindful of your blogging site through yahoo, and discovered that it is genuinely interesting. I will be grateful if you continue on this approach.

  8. Genuinely beneficial highlights you’ll have mentioned, thank you so much for writing.

  9. It really is practically extremely difficult to come across well-advised users on this issue, nonetheless you look like you fully understand the things that you’re preaching about! Bless You

  10. Howdy there, just became aware of your wordpress bog through The Big G, and discovered that it’s truly helpful. I will be grateful for if you decide to continue this.

  11. I simply desire to advise you that I am new to posting and utterly adored your review. Probably I am probably to store your blog post . You definitely have memorable article materials. Love it for share-out with us your main domain document

  12. Fantastic purchase for a mattress without horrible chemicals. Acquired double dimension for a 4 year old. This is incredibly comfortable as well as seems effectively created.

  13. No matter ifWhen some one searches for his requirednecessaryessentialvital thing, sothustherefore he/she wantsneedsdesireswishes to be available that in detail, sothustherefore that thing is maintained over here.

  14. I really hope to show you that I am new to blogging and genuinely enjoyed your page. Quite possibly I am likely to save your blog post . You really have impressive article content. Get Pleasure From it for discussing with us your favorite web report

  15. Extraordinarily engaging elements you’ll have mentioned, thanks a lot for publishing.

  16. It is actually mostly impossible to see well-updated individual on this niche, although you look like you fully understand what you’re revealing! Appreciation

  17. Have you ever consideredthought about includingadding a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is valuablefundamentalimportant and alleverything. NeverthelessHoweverBut think ofjust imaginethink aboutimagine if you added some great visualsgraphicsphotospicturesimages or video clipsvideos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with imagespics and clipsvideo clipsvideos, this sitewebsiteblog could undeniablycertainlydefinitely be one of the most beneficialvery bestgreatestbest in its nichefield. AwesomeAmazingVery goodTerrificSuperbGoodWonderfulFantasticExcellentGreat blog!

  18. Hi there, just got alert to your webpage through The Big G, and have found that it’s really entertaining. I’ll truly appreciate should you decide persist this approach.

  19. Modify after practically pair of years: Mattress is still storing up great. Great purchase for a mattress without awful chemicals. It is extremely relaxed and also looks to be well made.

  20. Do you have a spam issueproblem on this sitewebsiteblog; I also am a blogger, and I was curious aboutwanting to knowwondering your situation; many of uswe have createddeveloped some nice proceduresmethodspractices and we are looking to swaptradeexchange solutionsstrategiesmethodstechniques with other folksothers, why notbe sure toplease shoot me an e-mailemail if interested.

  21. It certainly is nearly impossible to find well-educated men or women on this subject, then again you appear like you realize the things you’re writing on! With Thanks

  22. excellent issues altogether, you simply received a new reader. What may you suggest about your submit that you simply made some days ago? Any certain?

  23. Very good written information. It will be beneficial to everyone who utilizes it, including me. Keep up the good work – for sure i will check out more posts.

  24. I truly wanted to send a quick remark to thank you for some of the remarkable ideas you are giving out on this website. My time consuming internet search has finally been paid with sensible know-how to write about with my family members. I would tell you that many of us visitors are quite fortunate to be in a very good site with so many special people with valuable tips. I feel somewhat happy to have discovered your entire weblog and look forward to so many more fun minutes reading here. Thanks a lot again for everything.

  25. Simply want to say your article is as astounding. The clarity in your post is simply nice and i could assume you are an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the gratifying work.

  26. I am now not certain the place you are getting your information, but good topic. I needs to spend a while finding out much more or working out more. Thank you for magnificent info I used to be searching for this info for my mission.

  27. As I website possessor I believe the content material here is rattling excellent , appreciate it for your efforts. You should keep it up forever! Good Luck.

  28. I simply couldn’t leave your site prior to suggesting that I actually loved the usual info a person supply to your visitors? Is gonna be again often to inspect new posts

  29. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I do not know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already ;) Cheers!

  30. I am only commenting to let you be aware of what a notable experience my daughter found using your web site. She figured out lots of things, with the inclusion of what it’s like to possess an excellent teaching style to let other folks with ease thoroughly grasp a variety of impossible topics. You really surpassed people’s desires. Thanks for imparting these invaluable, trustworthy, revealing not to mention cool guidance on that topic to Julie.

  31. I’m still learning from you, as I’m trying to reach my goals. I definitely enjoy reading everything that is written on your blog.Keep the posts coming. I enjoyed it!

  32. I want to show thanks to you for bailing me out of this type of incident. Right after surfing through the world wide web and coming across proposals which are not pleasant, I was thinking my life was well over. Being alive devoid of the solutions to the problems you have solved through your main write-up is a serious case, as well as the ones which might have in a negative way affected my entire career if I had not come across your web blog. Your own competence and kindness in touching all areas was invaluable. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if I hadn’t discovered such a stuff like this. It’s possible to at this time look ahead to my future. Thanks so much for the high quality and results-oriented guide. I will not be reluctant to suggest your site to anyone who needs to have support on this issue.

  33. He brought in a 2 component bed coming from hardwood and also these cushions operated flawlessly.

  34. It is in point of fact a nice and useful piece of info. I am glad that you shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  35. I really appreciate this post. I¡¦ve been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You’ve made my day! Thank you again

  36. Hiya, I’m really glad I have found this info. Today bloggers publish just about gossips and net and this is really frustrating. A good website with interesting content, that’s what I need. Thank you for keeping this web-site, I’ll be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Can’t find it.

  37. hi!,I like your writing so a lot! share we keep in touch more about your post on AOL? I need a specialist on this area to solve my problem. May be that’s you! Taking a look forward to look you.

  38. Good blog! I truly love how it is simple on my eyes and the data are well written. I’m wondering how I might be notified whenever a new post has been made. I’ve subscribed to your RSS which must do the trick! Have a nice day!

  39. I appreciate, cause I discovered just what I was taking a look for. You have ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

  40. Genuinely engaging knowledge you’ll have stated, say thanks a lot for publishing.

  41. I simply want to notify you that I am new to writing a blog and absolutely loved your write-up. Most likely I am probably to save your blog post . You simply have memorable article content. Value it for giving out with us your favorite site post

  42. Keep working ,terrific job!

  43. Whats up very nice site!! Guy .. Excellent .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your website and take the feeds also¡KI’m happy to search out so many useful info here within the post, we’d like work out extra strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  44. It’s perfect time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you few interesting things or suggestions. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article. I want to read even more things about it!

  45. I really intend to share it with you that I am new to having a blog and extremely liked your report. Very possible I am going to store your blog post . You definitely have fantastic article material. Be Thankful For it for discussing with us your current url webpage

  46. I¡¦ll immediately seize your rss as I can’t to find your e-mail subscription link or newsletter service. Do you have any? Please allow me understand so that I may subscribe. Thanks.

  47. I was recommended this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my difficulty. You are incredible! Thanks!

Speak Your Mind

*