While the demand for solar power is growing and technology costs are rapidly decreasing, solar cannot yet compete with the price of electricity produced by fossil fuels. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, non-hardware costs, or “soft costs,”, associated with processes such as permitting and interconnection can makeaccounts for more than 60 percent of the total installed cost of a rooftop solar photovoltaics (PV) system according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
COG is working with its member jurisdictions to reduce the cost of solar in the region through the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative Rooftop Solar Challenge II. The Rooftop Solar Challenge helps make it easier and more affordable for Americans to go solar, reducing “soft costs” by streamlining permit processes, updating planning and zoning codes, improving standards for connecting solar power to the electric grid, and increasing access to financing.
Under the Rooftop Solar Challenge, COG and its member jurisdictions are working to promote national best practices and implement more streamlined and standardized solar processes across the region, focusing on the following areas:
Streamlining and standardizing solar permitting and inspections
Launching a solar bulk purchase program
Providing a central information source
Visit Solar Ready Metro DC for more information on how residents, businesses and governments can go solar in the region.
Endorsed by COG’s Climate, Energy, and Environment Policy Committee (CEEPC), these recommendations include a list of national best practices, a model permitting checklist, a model inspections checklist, and sample criteria for a simplified permit review for qualifying systems, from the Solar America Board for Codes and Standards (Solar ABCs).
Climate Action Champion Solar Case Study
This White House Climate Action Champion Case Study describes the bulk solar initiative for both private and public communities.