istrative barriers across all agencies added more
ombudsman began holding office hours at the
city Department of Buildings last September.
have more than doubled over the last year, and
we now have approximately 5. 65 megawatts
installed. Better access to information is the
key, and the city has developed a suite of tools
to help both customers and those involved in
director of sustainability.
She is referring to a solar map that provides
shading of rooftops, providing customers and
of a potential solar energy system. A second tool
the city is developing is an interactive installation guide to help consumers map out their paths
through the process. A third project in the works
is a web-based tool that will allow relevant agencies to virtually track the progress of each installation, which will also increase transparency and
clarity for end-users.
Portland Helps Standardize State Permitting.;Portland’s;Bureau;of;Development;Services
BDS);developed;an;electronic;permit;submit-tal process for solar installers, enabling installers to e-mail the permit application to the city
eliminated an average office wait of three hours,
plus travel time, for contractors. Additionally,
permits were set to a flat fee for residential instal-lations;meeting;certain;requirements,;and;staff-ers;at;the;permitting;desk;were;trained;as;solar
permits;in;person.;These;easy-to-implement,;low-tech solutions created certainty for the contractors and have decreased solar installers’ costs.
Much of Portland’s early work became a
mented a flat permit fee and created a provision
Further Streamlining Processes, Costs
best;practices;and;insights;and;compared;expe-riences about emerging trends in urban solar
energy use. Much of the work performed in the
Solar America Cities helps to pioneer more effi-cient;ways;of;selling,;permitting,;installing;and
In line with its SunShot Initiative and this
complementary Solar America Cities work,
Permitting improvements have helped San Jose install more than 25 megawatts of PV. The Orchard School
District in San Jose features a 240-kilowatt system.
all jurisdictions are enormous.
Jonathan Cohen, principal and founder of Imag-ine;Energy,;an;Oregon;solar;installer.;“Often
systems, so they tend to be very conservative,
often adding unnecessary costs and engineering
code provides these smaller jurisdictions with a
both installers that operate across jurisdictions
Much of the work performed
in the Solar America Cities
helps to pioneer more
efficient ways of selling,
permitting, installing and
interconnecting PV systems.
through more consumer-friendly processes. For
more information on future funding opportunities, visit eere.energy.gov/solar/financial_