On March 21, 2013, IREC and ICLEI hosted a permitting reform workshop for city and county planning staff and code officials in Eastern Alameda County in California.

Sky Stanfield and Erica Schroeder present at Alameda County workshop
Sky Stanfield and Erica Schroeder present at Alameda County workshop

The first of three workshops to be offered between now and May, the workshop is designed to help communities evaluate their solar rooftop permitting processes and learn about streamlining efforts that other jurisdictions across the country have found effective. Sponsored by the Solar Outreach Partnership (Solar OPs) and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, Solar Ops achieves its goals through a mix of educational workshops, like this series, P2P sharing opportunities, research-based reports and online resources.

Sky Stanfield and Erica Schroeder, both of Keyes, Fox & Wiedman, LLP and representing IREC, are the presenters for the workshop series.

IREC’s approach to improving solar permitting is rooted in two overarching principles: (1) responsibility for change should be shared between permitting authorities and the solar industry and (2) changes to permitting policies should benefit local governments, solar installers and their customers.

Stanfield and Schroeder covered the three primary components of the solar permitting process: the pre-application stage; application submittal and review; and facility inspection.

SharingSuccessCoverUsing Sharing Success: Emerging Approaches to Efficient Rooftop Solar Permitting (IREC, May 2012) as a resource for the workshop, Stanfield and Schroeder offered suggestions on ways to improve and streamline the permitting process in ways that benefit the permitting authority, as well as solar installers and their customers.

“Some of the communities in attendance had already begun the process of streamlining the process, and were able to share some of their successes and challenges with the other workshop attendees,” said Stanfield.

IREC will continue to work with the communities that participate in all three of the workshops on an ongoing basis, offering one-on-one assistance to help local governments implement the reforms discussed, with the goal of meeting or exceeding all of the IREC/ Vote Solar solar permitting best practices.

Solar Ops logo

Two more solar permitting reform workshops are scheduled for 2013: April 4, in Mono County, California, and May 1, in Westchester County, New York.


For more information about these and other workshop opportunities for local governments, visit the Solar Outreach Partnership website.