Vermont has implemented a process for solar system registration, which offers a national model for mitigating costly permitting often associated with solar systems.
H.56, signed into law by Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin May 25, establishes a simple registration process for solar systems 5kW and smaller and is a national first.
The process, which replaces permitting, allows solar users to install the system 10 days after completing a registration form and certificate of compliance with interconnection requirements. The utility has 10 days to raise any interconnection issues, otherwise a Certificate of Public Good is granted and project may be installed.
A recent study earlier this year produced by SunRun found that permitting adds an average cost of $2,500 to each solar installation and that streamlining the often cumbersome process would provide a $1 billion stimulus to the solar industry over the next five years.
The report finds that the additional installation cost— $.50 per watt— is due to wide permitting variations not connected to safety, excessive fees, and an unnecessarily slow process.
The report cites that Germany has a 40 percent installation price advantage over the United States. Vermont already has a much more cost-effective, free statewide permitting process than most states.
The registration process will go into effect January 2012.
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