Best Practices: Solar Permitting in San Jose

As part of the City of San Jose’s Solar America grant, they’re working on developing a menu of best practices for solar permitting.

In a recent IREC interview with Mary Tucker, City of San Jose, she talked about a solar permitting symposium held in December 2008.

Building code, fire and permitting officials, industry representatives and other stakeholders had a productive day, discussing best practices, barriers, streamlining the permitting process, fee structures and education opportunities to develop model replicable solar permitting procedures and practices.

All nine presentations are available on the City of San Jose’s website, including Bill Brooks’ Permitting and Field Inspection Best Practices: A SolarABCs and U.S. Department of Energy Perspective.

More recently, last week at the Solar America Cities annual meeting in San Antonio, the Solar ABCs (Solar America Board of Codes & Standards), led by Kevin Lynn, heard the DRAFT Guidelines for Expedited Permit Process for PV Systems presented by Bill Brooks, along with the work SolarTech and CalSEIA has been doing in this area.

According to Jessie Denver, the work was well received.

“We’re working with SolarTech who is organizing a broader review with the key stakeholders from the 12/15/08 Permitting Symposium,” she said.

Denver shared with IREC what the collaborative would like to accomplish in the next 45-60 days:

1) Reach out to a reasonable key subset of the attendees from the 12/15/08 Permitting Symposium (key cities, industry, jurisdictions, agencies, etc)

2) Convene a working discussion to review the proposed guidelines, process(es), and permit package submittal template

3) Consolidate feedback in preparation for the May 6th & 7th SolarTech/CalSEIA Summit

4) Unveil the consensus INITIAL proposed submittal standards representing all the organizations contributing.

5) Provide 2 week comment window

6) Finalize initial “standard” for distribution jointly by all organizations, endorsed by the SolarABCs team by 6/1/09

“As with all ‘standards,'” said Denver, “they’re never really done, yet at the same time we must start somewhere. Bill Brooks is working hard to incorporate many of the suggestions received over the past few weeks.”


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