Palo Alto, California – After spending considerable time and energy improving the permitting process for installing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, the City of Palo Alto was honored and delighted to win the national 2014 Best Solar Collaboration Award. This award was announced at the Annual Solar Power Generation USA Congress in San Diego, held earlier this month.
The Best Collaboration award recognizes Palo Alto for its exemplary collaboration with its residents, businesses and local solar contractors to streamline the residential and commercial solar array approval process to make it faster and easier to install solar systems in our town.
“Our Development Services team prides themselves on creating partnerships and collaborations around challenges like the Photovoltaic Permitting Process,” said Development Services Director Peter Pirnejad, “Thanks to the partners and stakeholders in the PV community, we were able to create a transparent process that is saving homeowners and PV contractors a lot of time and money.”
To change their reputation as being a very difficult place to get approval and pass inspections for solar panel installations, the City pulled together staff, elected officials, homeowners and representatives from leading installers together to create a stakeholder group tasked with overhauling the process. As a result, the City was able to implement a series of streaming program improvements, initiatives, online documentation, and fee reductions to expedite and simplify the entire PV review and inspection experience. The results were dramatic:
· drop in the average number of days for permit issuance from 122 to 3
· halving the average number of times plans are returned with corrections
· increase of 67% in the number of solar applications received
The awards panel commended the City on their impressive efforts to remove barriers, thereby greatly advancing the deployment of clean, green solar energy in Palo Alto.
“The City of Palo Alto deserves a tremendous amount of credit for listening to the needs of solar customers and making direct changes based on those needs,” said Jefferson Silver, Sr. Commercial Project Manager for SolarCity. “Palo Alto has made the most dramatic improvements to its permitting process of any of the jurisdictions we work in.”