California must improve solar permitting to boost green jobs

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According to a new study released today by the Architecture, Engineering, Consulting, Operations and Management consultancy – or AECOM – California could increase its energy output by about 20 percent and thus boost its number of permanent green jobs by using less complicated solar permitting processes.

These new solar permitting processes could help the state produce $5 billion more each year, according to SunRun, which is the frontrunner in the nation’s home solar energy industry and released the study today. California’s failure to implement new solar permitting processes could threaten the $30 billion gain the state expects from its solar energy industry, according to the AECOM report. This means the number of green jobs in the solar energy industry also could flounder.

“Local solar energy creates [green] jobs and helps America move away from dirty and increasingly expensive coal-fired power,” said Bill Corcoran, western regional director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. “We hope the report’s findings will encourage governments across the country to reform permitting processes and accelerate our nation’s necessary transition to reliable renewable energy.”

Report identifies financial benefits of improving solar permitting processes

Local solar permitting processes in California usually tack on more than $2,500 to the bill of each home solar energy installation, according to another report released earlier this year by SunRun, called “The Impact of Local Permitting on the Cost of Solar Power.”

In today’s solar energy report, AECOM emphasizes the financial advantages of streamlining local solar permitting processes. This idea is connected with Senate Bill 1108 – a state bill designed to offer tools to communities that allow solar permitting processes to become more efficient to increase the use of solar energy.

AECOM’s solar energy report additionally calls attention to the U.S. Department of Education’s SunShot Rooftop Solar Challenge, an initiative to allow solar energy to become more affordable for all U.S. citizens. This solar energy initiative essentially can help the environment, create opportunities for more green jobs and save homeowners money while still getting the energy services they need.

“These findings are tremendous for local governments because they offer a low-cost way to add billions to the economy,” said Ethan Sprague, director of government affairs for SunRun. “Solar permitting guidelines already exist, and it’s just a matter of putting them to use.”

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