Colorado Caps Solar Permitting Fees

The state of Colorado passed a law in 2011 to solve the problem of inconsistent and expensive solar permitting costs. A national study recently found that local permitting can increase the cost of residential solar by 15-20%, a problem that becomes more pressing as the cost of solar hardware falls.

Colorado’s Fair Permit Act (HB 1199) was signed into law in June 2011 and requires that the cost of a permit for solar projects 2 megawatts and smaller be based on the cost of issuance.  Permit costs are capped at $500 for residential solar installations and $1,000 for commercial installations.

From the act:

A county may shall not charge permit, plan review, or other fees to install an active solar electric or solar thermal device or system that, in aggregate, exceed the lesser of the county’s actual costs in issuing the permit or five hundred dollars for a residential application or one thousand dollars for a nonresidential application…

Photo credit: Zane Selvans

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John Farrell

John Farrell directs the Energy Democracy initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and he develops tools that allow communities to take charge of their energy future, and pursue the maximum economic benefits of the transition to 100% renewable power.