Permitting processes are often costly and inconsistent for advanced energy technologies, such as solar, wind, and energy storage. They often require multiple permits from a variety of state and local departments, and create an unnecessary drag on economic growth. States should consider streamlining the permitting process to remove uncertainty around project timeline and costs and accelerate the development of renewable energy projects. In the solar industry, for example, a study by Lawrence Berkeley National Labs concluded that streamlining the permitting process could potentially reduce the price of a residential solar system by $1,000 or more and cut development time by about a month.
States have a number of options for simplifying permitting. States can establish uniform requirements for electrical and structural reviews by local agencies. They can offer recommended standards for review that can be voluntarily adopted by municipalities. Setting statewide caps on the fees assessed locally will also minimize costs. Applications for interconnection can also be expedited for small-scale projects. Advice from private sector experts could help further remove excess procedures and lessen time needed for permitting without compromising regulatory requirements.
Reducing the cost and time required for the permitting process will aid the growth of state advanced energy projects.