They discussed emerging trends in urban energy use and solutions tolocal solar barriers, such as zoning, financing and unwieldy permittingprocesses.
At the conference, Department of Energy Acting Under Secretary of Energy Dr. Arun Majumdar announced a Request for Information (RFI) for a solar challenge specifically designed to address permitting issues in cities.
Local permitting processes have been identified as a major barrier for implementing solar.
In a recent article, we pointed to the benefits that would accrue from astandardized permitting system. Currently, winding through various local permitting processes adds $0.50 per watt, or about $2500 to the totalcost for customers.
Standardized local permitting would bring the cost of solar to gridparity for 50% of American homes by 2013. It would close Germany’s 40%cost advantage, while delivering the equivalent of a new $1 billionsolar subsidy over five years.
DOE’s RFI focuses on four areas crucial to solar market growth:standardizing permitting processes; improving interconnection and netmetering standards; increasing access to financing; and minimizingsiting restrictions.
The challenge builds on the success of the Solar America Cities programin lowering solar energy costs, and supports the DOE SunShot initiativeto reduce solar costs 75% by the end of the decade.
Learn more about Solar America Cities: