NYSERDA to Streamline Solar Permitting Process

on October 02, 2013 at 4:00 PM

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The NYS Unified Solar Permit program will streamline the solar project permitting process to cut costs and boost solar development across NY State.

On September 20, 2013, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced the NYS Unified Solar Permit program to reduce solar project costs by streamlining municipal permitting processes across the state.  The program, a collaborative effort of NYSERDA, New York Power Authority (NYPA), and City University of New York (CUNY), is a part of Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun initiative, which aims to quadruple the state’s solar capacity in 2013, relative to 2011 levels.


New York Installed Solar Capacity (livegreen)

According to NYSERDA, a standardized permit for residential and small-scale solar installers will help municipalities remove barriers to development in the solar industry and reduce costs through a uniform permitting process.  Currently, solar installers across the state’s 1,550 municipalities are subject to complex permitting processes that result in project delays and additional costs.

CUNY received funding from NYSERDA and NYPA for development and adoption of the permit.  NYSERDA will provide grants through its Cleaner, Greener Communities program to encourage implementation of the new procedures.  It has announced $2,500 to $5,000 in grants for eligible municipalities that adopt the permit and will accept applications until September 30, 2014 or until funds are exhausted.

Funding under the new permit program is not available for communities that have already received funding from Long Island Power Authority for photovoltaic (PV) permitting.  The NYS Unified Solar Permit is based on the Long Island initiative and the national best practices of Solar America Board for Codes and Standards.  It is also a part of Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun “Balance of System,” a program aimed to streamline inspection and permitting processes; the program focuses on a solar project’s upfront costs except the solar module cost and has recently provided $13.5 million in funding for demonstration and training projects.

The collaborative effort allows installers and municipalities to share a streamlined process and make solar more affordable for consumers.  NYSERDA and NYPA are also involved in efforts to streamline permitting for commercial solar electric facilities.  In addition to the new permit program, they have provided $40 million in funding for research projects to reduce equipment and installation costs, so solar energy can compete with other electricity sources in the future, with no government subsidies.

September 23, 2013 via Energy Solutions Forum

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