Renewable Energy World, March 19, 2012
Vermont legislators enacted a groundbreaking bill that streamlines the installation process for small-scale solar – including the elimination of time-consuming and expensive permitting. So, how much does the bill actually reduce the cost of solar? Estimating the true cost of a residential system can be difficult to pin down. According to ILSR’s John Farrell, the installed cost for residential solar was $6.40 in 2011, which means that the installation costs of a typical 3-kW system would be about $19,000. So what does permitting contribute to these costs? Aside from time, a recent report produced by SunRun estimated that permitting adds roughly $2,500 to the cost of an average residential installation. The report went on to speculate that streamlined permitting could make solar affordable for 50 percent of American homes. The new law states that utilities must approve systems 5-kW and smaller within 10 days of receiving a registration form and certificate of compliance with grid connection requirements.