A survey in northern California reveals a wide range of fees assessed to homeowners that install on-site solar power systems. The Sierra Club’s Loma Prieta, S.F. Bay and Redwood chapters compared the charges and fees in 131 municipalities. The report recommends on that a $300 fee is an appropriate ceiling level that would comply with state law.
The report found that as of July 2007, the permit fees varied from $0 to $1,298, or 0% to 7% of the total post-rebate cost ($18,600) of a standard photovoltaic (PV) installation. Out of 131 jurisdictions surveyed, 84 had fees of $300 or less, 10 had fees of $600 or more, and 14 charged nothing. The average fee was $282. The authors feel that $300 is the level at which a city can fully recover the administrative costs associated with inspection of the system. Flat fees vs. fees based on the value of the system are also encouraged. Cities that want to promote PV in their communities could waive fees for solar installations as an incentive.
- Solar Electric Permit Fees in Northern California: A Comparative Study– By Carl Mills and Kurt Newick, July2007