Solar and Storage Friendly Communities
What is this program?
After a decade of widespread growth, the solar industry has gained the experience and knowledge to consistently install safe, simple, and standardized solar systems backed by strong insurance policies. However, complex permitting and interconnection requirements
can delay installations and increase costs to solar consumers, while also leading to cancellations.
- External soft costs, delays and resulting cancellations can add $1 per watt (or $7,000) per project for solar customers
- Every week shaved off external processes can increase local installations by up to 10%
Fortunately, solutions are available through a collaboration between the industry and AHJs. COSSA’s Solar Friendly Communities Program provides examples of and the relative value for various process improvements in our scoring matrix. We provide AHJs the opportunity to claim bronze, silver, gold and platinum rankings with improvement overtime. These recommendations reduce costs and resource needs for everyone involved. If we succeed and solar access expands, so will permitting revenue and community resilience!
How does this certification program work?
The typical participation timeline begins when you score yourself in the summer. COSSA then provides feedback and review. You receive your certification in the fall. This program is repeated annually and the goal is continued improvement. Participants can schedule feedback sessions at any time with COSSA.
What AHJs policies improve the situation?
- Instantaneous permitting for solar and storage
- Online application portals that include live inspection scheduling and tracking
- Flat or algorithm-based fees and taxes total under $500 for solar with or without storage
- Limit inspections to a single event
- For high performers; video inspections, audits instead of inspections, and/or full inspections reduced to 10%
What do AHJs gain from improved processes?
- Solar Friendly Community (silver and higher) constituents get a $500 reward from participating COSSA members!
- Streamlining allows more installs for less work from AHJ staff
- Greater community resilience, especially as storage proliferates
- Fewer full inspections for high performing installers provides a carrot for new and struggling installers
- Fewer full inspections mean fewer on-the-job injuries for AHJ inspectors
What is COSSA doing to improve the situation?
- Holds our members to a higher standard through our Code of Ethics which covers sales, design, safety and more
- Working with CO municipal leaders to provide feedback to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to develop an open-source online permitting application portal that will enable automated compliance checks and instant permits
- Collaborating on solar and storage codes and standards at a state level as the voice of the industry
Want to learn more? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.