Solar Energy Can Generate $5 Billion for California Economy

07/25/2011 |


Solar power has the ability to harvest energy but can it also harvest money?

According to a new study from the economic consultancy AECOM, simpler solar permitting processes could generate over $5 billion in additional growth for California, an increase in nearly 20 percent.

"These findings are tremendous for local governments because they offer a low-cost way to add billions to the economy," says SunRun Director of Government Affairs Ethan Sprague. "Governments that streamline their permitting processes sooner will generate a bigger economic impact in the long run, more permanent local jobs, and allow more families to save money by switching to solar."

The AECOM forecast also indicates that failure to adopt more efficient home solar permitting processes could jeopardize the already expected $30 billion economic gain from natural solar market growth in California.

In January SunRun issued a report, "The Impact of Local Permitting on the Cost of Solar Power." That report showed local solar permitting and inspection processes cost an average of over $2,500 per home installation.  It also helped inform the Department of Energy's (DOE) recently-announced SunShot Rooftop Solar Challenge to make solar affordable for more Americans.

This new report from AECOM is a follow-on analysis that calculates the economic and fiscal benefits of streamlined permitting for the state of California.

"Local solar energy creates jobs and helps America move away from dirty and increasingly expensive coal-fired power," says Bill Corcoran, western regional director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign. "We hope the report's findings will encourage governments across the country to reform permitting processes and accelerate our nation's necessary transition to reliable renewable energy."

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