Solar Politics: It’s A Local Game

28 June of 2011 by

usa map rad Solar Politics: Its A Local Game

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill coined the phrase, "Allpolitics is local." That would seem to apply to solar politics as well.

The U.S federal government is helping out with the Loan Guarantee Program, the Tax Grant Program, and the SunShot Initiative. And that’s priming the solar industry with money and creating a climate in which investors can make an assured return.  By all means the fedsshould extend the 1603 grant program deadline. And a long term energypolicy would be nice. Perhaps a national Renewable Portfolio Standard or a more encompassing Clean Energy Standard that could include clean coal and perhaps nuclear. While we’re dreaming — how about a FederalFeed-in-Tariff?

But absent any constructive policy activity from Washington D.C. — the real work is being done at the state policy level. Here are some examples of what states are doing to increase thedeployment of solar and lower its costs.

Colorado

We’ve actively covering the vexing issue of solar permitting and solar’s "soft costs" in recent weeks. Earlier this month Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper signed the Fair Permit Act HB-1199 into law to actually do something about it.

The Fair Permit Act prevents state and local government agencies fromcharging excessive permit fees and plan review fees to customers who are installing solar electric or solar thermal systems. The legislationextends existing caps on solar permit fees through 2018 and closesloopholes to further reduce costs, according to the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA).

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