Home > CO2-Free Energy (Example: Solar Electricity), Fande = Fact & Evidence, Original Thought, The Economy > Solar Solution = Hire More Workers To Meet Increased Demand

Solar Solution = Hire More Workers To Meet Increased Demand

source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/20/business/energy-environment/20permit.html?pagewanted=2&ref=business&src=me

EXCERPT from The New York Times:

In many ways, solar installers are simply dealing with the effects of the economic downturn, which has left some cities understaffed and sometimes turning to higher fees to help balance budgets.

Jay M. Trevino, the executive director of the planning and building agency for Santa Ana, Calif., which charges no fee for solar panel installations but typically takes four to six weeks to process permit applications, said that he sympathized with installers. But he added that his office had just one electrical engineer on staff to review plans — and not just for solar panel installations, but any building project.

Still, he said solar permitting might benefit from a process similar to the handouts developed by his agency for homeowners seeking approval of projects like room additions or patio covers. If their projects adhere to the standards prescribed in the documents, permitting is more or less automatic.

Rob Cahill, manager of business development at San Francisco-based SunRun and the chief author of the company’s white paper, said that as equipment and technology costs fell, stagnant “soft costs” associated with bureaucracy represented a larger portion of the overall installation price tag. Using data from Barclays Capital, Mr. Cahill estimated that local permitting and inspections processes added 13 percent to out-of-pocket costs for a homeowner installing solar panels in 2007.

Today, the SunRun report says, they add 33 percent — and that could rise to 50 percent in a few years.

Some cities have been held out as examples of streamlined processes, including San Jose, Calif., and Philadelphia, , and also Portland, Ore., which offers online permitting.

Mr. Button of Verengo Solar says he would be happy to see some progress in one area — shortening the time his team has to wait for an inspector to show up and look at an installation.

“When you call for an inspection, the best that you can get is, ‘Well, we’ll be out there either in the morning or in the afternoon.’ ” Mr. Button said. “I mean, even the phone company will give you a two-hour window.”


* Not only do the city inspectors stall solar installations, but so do the Utility Company Inspectors – who like to take their sweet time approving “interconnection” to the grid.

Solution = Hire More City Inspectors, City Engineers & Utility Company Personnel…in order to meet the increased demand of Americans wanting to use the Sun for Affordable Electricity.


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