Supes lower solar panel fees
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The Monterey County Board of Supervisors today lowered building permit fees for alternative energy systems by $750, effectively reversing a steep fee increase for solar panel installation made in July.
Solar energy advocates complained that the permit fees were the highest in Northern California and were having a "chilling effect" on buying green energy systems. On July 27 the county increased permit fees from $251 to $1,002 for a roof-mounted system and up to $1,548 for a ground-mounted system, a supervisors report says.
On Tuesday the supervisors unanimously voted to give green energy systems a $750 subsidy. The fee reduction is projected to cost the cash-strapped county $67,500 a year.
Although board Chairman Lou Calcagno supported the subsidy, he said the county should be able to issue permits at a much lower cost. "I would rather we be more efficient and be able to process those permits a lot cheaper and run a streamlined system," Calcagno said.
The county's fees were excessive, according to a 2008 Sierra Club survey that found the average building permit cost in Northern California was $214 for the installation of photovoltaic systems. Monterey Peninsula cities reported an average of $300 for the carbon-saving systems.
The supervisors also approved adding priority permit processing for alternative energy systems.