Published on June 5, 2013
PROJECT PERMITSimplifying Municipal Solar Permitting PracticesVote Solar ‘Get Some Sun’ WebinarJune 5th, 2013
AAgendaGalen Barbose, LawrenceBerkeley National LaboratorySky Stanfield, InterstateRenewable Energy CouncilAnnie Lappé, Vote SolarSean Milch, Clean PowerFinanceProject PermitWebinarAgenda
The Importance of Reducing “Soft”Costs for PV Market DevelopmentGalen Barbose and Ryan WiserLawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryVote Solar WebinarJune 5, 2013This work was funded by the Solar Energy Technologies Program, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy ofthe U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231.
Residential PV Price Trends in the US:There’s More than Just Hardware!4$0$2$4$6$8$10$12$141998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012Installation YearTotal Installed Price (Median)Global Module Price IndexImplied Non-Module CostsResidential & Commercial PV Systems ≤10 kW2012$/WDCSource: Preliminary results from LBNL’s forthcoming “Tracking the Sun VI”. The GlobalModule Price Index is Navigant Consulting’s module price index for large-quantity buyers(Mints, 2012). Implied Non-Module Costs are calculated as the difference between theTotal Installed Price and the Global Module Price Index.
PV Pricing in Germany Reveals Potentialfor Soft Cost Reductions• The installed price of residential PV is significantly lower in Germany than in theUnited States, due primarily to differences in ―soft‖ costs• Potential factors contributing to low soft costs in Germany:– Widespread deployment and market longevity greater installer experience– Regular declining FiT and high competition among installers– Simple, certain value proposition leads to low customer acquisition costs– Lower market fragmentation– Less onerous permitting-inspection-interconnection processes0.01 0.22 0.240.360.620.12 0.09 0.211.173.0001234567German system module inverter other hardwareinstallation laborcustomer acquisition and system designPII permitting fee sales taxoverhead, profit and other resid$2011/WCostdifferenceof $3.04/WSources of US-German residential system price differences in 20115Source: LBNL, “Why Are Residential PV Prices in Germany So Much Lower Than in the United States?”
Non-Hardware ―Soft‖ Costs DominatePrices, Consist of Multiple Elements• Permitting fee and labor hours vary across 18,000 jurisdictions• Total PII labor hours/install cluster around 15 to 25 hours• Permit fees can be as high as $2000 per install6Source: RMI, based inpart on data from NRELPermitting, inspection, andinterconnection
With Broader Definition of PermittingImpact, SunRun Report Shows that…• Local permitting andinspection can add:– $0.50 per watt for residential PV– $2,516 per residential install• Installation delays frompermitting proceduresaverage 3.5 weeks7
Clean Power Finance Installer SurveyFurther Demonstrates Impact• Permitting processes varywidely among locales andusually involve 2 distinctagencies (and up to 5) eachwith different processes• AHJs require, on average,nearly 8 work weeks tocomplete their tasks• The staff time of the installeraverages 14.25 hours• More than 1 in 3 installersavoid selling in an average of3.5 jurisdictions because ofpermitting difficulties8
Analysis of U.S. DOE’s Rooftop SolarChallenge Adds Further EvidenceBased on a detailed analysis of 44California cities participating in theRooftop Solar Challenge, the citieswith the highest-scoring permittingpractices for residential PV:• Have lower average system prices:$0.27 to $0.77/W (4%-12%)• Have shorter development times:around 24 days (25%)Both relative to the lowest-scoring cities in theCalifornia sample9
Germany Demonstrates the Benefits ofStreamlined Permitting Procedures22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.03.70.060.010.030.030.010.020.020.090.000.050.188.8.131.52.300510152025USA 2010[h/system]Germany 2011[h/system]USA 2010[$/W]Germany 2011[$/W]$2011/Wh/systemPermitting, Inspection, Interconnectionrequirements Permit FeeIncentive ApplicationCompletingInterconnectionCompleting PermitInspectionSubmitting PermitPackagePreparing PermitPackage$.24/W$.03/W22.6h5.2h
The Bottom Line…• For residential PV, the only viable path todramatically lower costs & increased deploymentis to focus on non-hardware ―soft‖ costs• Streamlined local permitting procedures is onecritical leverage point for reduced cost and delay• The Vote Solar’s Project Permit is one of manyimportant resources and efforts targeting thiscritical issue11
Sky StanfieldInterstate Renewable EnergyCouncilProject Permit: Best Practicesin Residential SolarPermitting
Nine Best Practices by Vote Solar and IREC Developed following review of permit processimprovements across the country Available at www.projectpermit.org, under―best practices’ Sharing Success: Emerging Approaches toEfficient Rooftop Solar Permitting– http://www.irecusa.org/wp-content/uploads/FINAL-Sharing-Success-w-cover-revised-final052012.pdfProject Permit: Best Practicesin Residential SolarPermitting
1. Permitting information is available and easilyaccessible online at a single location– Checklists, Solar Guidebooks– http://www.irecusa.org/wp-content/uploads/permitting-handoutv6-1.pdf2. Expedited review for simple systems– Solar ABC’s Expedited Permit Process– Over-the-Counter or Electronic Processing– Within One Day3. Electronic and online permit processing4. No more than one trip to the permit officeBest Practices in ResidentialSolar PermittingVote Solar/IREC Permitting Best Practices: http://votesolar.org/best-practices/
5. Fair, flat permit fees that reflect the timeneeded to process permit applications– Calculate actual review time on 80%– Aim for less than $400 for residential permits6. No community Specific Installer Licenses– Standard certification for installers (NABCEP)Best Practices in ResidentialSolar PermittingVote Solar/IREC Permitting Best Practices: http://votesolar.org/best-practices/
7. Reduced inspection time windows– Exact time or Windows Below 2 Hours– Call ahead, online tracking or other tools8. Only one inspection—eliminate unnecessaryreview and inspections– See IREC Inspection Guidelines– Combine structural, electrical and fire9. Permitting staff trained in solar—plan checkand review staff as well as inspectors– PVOT training is free and accessible– https://www.nterlearning.org/web/guest/course-details?cid=402Best Practices in ResidentialSolar PermittingVote Solar/IREC Permitting Best Practices: http://votesolar.org/best-practices/
PROJECT PERMITA tool to empower citizens to work with local governments to improve solarpermitting practices.
Introducing SolarPermit.orga Wiki for Solar PermittingRequirementsSean MilchClean Power Finance
Introducing SolarPermit.org: The NationalSolar Permitting Database• Free, online database that hosts permittinginformation and data for cities and countiesacross the nation• Funded by a $3MM grant from theDepartment of Energy• Aims to reduce addressable inefficiencies inthe permitting process• Database is ‘crowd sourced’ -- populated byinstallers, building department employees, andcivic-minded individuals
Get Involved with SolarPermit.org and ProjectPermit Today• Help us simplify the solarpermitting process and drivedown the cost of residentialsolar by adding permittingdata to the database• Data that you contribute toSolarPermit.org will populateProject Permit’s website andenable jurisdictions with thebest permitting practices togain recognition
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