California approves solar permit streamlining

Today, a group of solar installers in hardhats joined businessmen in suits and elected officials for a celebration at the Chamber of Commerce in the city of Torrance in Southern California.

The occasion for the celebration is the signing of a new bill which promises to reduce red tape by requiring streamlined permitting in the more than 500 seperate jurisdictions in California, an effort that was led by a state official from Torrance.

Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) is the author of AB2188, which was signed by California Governor Brown yesterday after passing both houses of the state’s legislature in late August.

“It takes us one day to install a residential solar system yet in many cities and counties it takes months just to get a simple permit,” said Randy Bishop, CEO of solar installer Verengo. “Thanks to this bill, that bureaucratic burden should lighten, allowing us to deploy more solar and employ more people.”

The California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA) was a key backer of the bill, which Executive Director Bernadette Del Chiaro called “historic”.

“(AB2188) mandates that every single city and county in the state adopt an ordinance to adopt streamlined permitting, and requires that it be substantially in performance with best practices, as outlined by the state guidebook,” explains Del Chiaro.

Among the changes made by the bill are the requirement that all cities and counties accept electronic submissions of permit applications.

Local governments have nine months to comply with the legislation. Del Chiaro notes that the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco and San Diego County already have streamlined permitting in place.