Costs to install solar technology are set to decrease in Colorado under the Fair Permit Act (H.B.1199), which has been approved by the State Senate. This legislation prevents state and local government agencies from charging excessive permit fees and plan review fees to customers installing solar electric or solar thermal systems, according to the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA).
The Fair Permit Act limits solar permit and related fees to a local government's actual costs in issuing the permit, not to exceed $500 for a residential installation or $1,000 for a commercial system. This legislation also closed loopholes and improves transparency in the permit process.
The bipartisan legislation was sponsored by Rep. Bob Gardner, Sen. Bob Bacon and Sen. Shawn Mitchell. It now heads to Gov. John Hickenlooper's desk to be signed into law.
Most solar installations require a permit from a local government or state agency, which can add about $2,516 per U.S. residential installation, on average, and can exceed $100,000 for large-scale installations, according to a recent national study cited by COSEIA. In Colorado, state permit fees more than doubled last year, and local fees and processes vary widely by region. In some communities, government permit costs can exceed the labor costs to install a solar system.
‘While solar costs continue to decrease through innovation and efficiency, permit costs have actually increased over the past few years,’ says Neal Lurie, executive director of COSEIA.’By keeping government fees low, this legislation helps promote economic development and save consumers money.’