January 17, 2017

Make it easier to install solar panels

Solar7Help eliminate an important obstacle to solar power.

Cities’ and counties’ procedures for issuing permits for installing rooftop solar panels vary widely. Many require voluminous paperwork, multiple in-person visits to city hall, multiple inspections, and high fees. This wastes time and is expensive. If you’re having solar installed, this cost is passed on to you.

Other jurisdictions have proved that simpler, less expensive procedures work.

Our Chapter has joined Project Permit, the Club’s statewide campaign to get cities and counties to adopt a set of best practices.

Right now we’re meeting with installers, finding out each jurisdiction’s procedures, and putting the information in a central database. To see how your city rates, go to the interactive map at http://projectpermit.org.

We plan to focus first on unincorporated Marin County and Fremont. The map rates these as “worst” on a three-tiered scale.

We’ll be working in coming months to mobilize residents and organizations in these communities. We’ll place op-eds in newspapers and circulate a sign-on letter for organizations, businesses, and installers. Then we’ll set up meetings with mayors and county administrators.

With permitting easier, quicker, and less expensive, more people will take the plunge, reducing our power bills and helping combat climate disruption.

WhatYouCanDo

To get involved, contact Jess Dervin-Ackerman at (510)848-0800, ext. 304, or jess.dervin-ackerman@sierraclub.org.

Also, come to the Chapter’s Energy-Climate Committee meeting, Thu., Sep. 26, at 7 pm at the Chapter Office, 2530 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley.

David McCoard, chair, Sierra Club Bay Chapter Energy-Climate Committee

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