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Solar Permitting Process Being Streamlined In Palo Alto — New System Means That PV Systems May Receive Approval In Less Than A Week

Solar PV permitting processes tend to be rather laborious and slow-moving — especially in the US — so any improvements to and streamlining of such processes by local governments is to be highly commended. The bureaucracy associated with such permitting processes is thought to be one of the primary obstacles to higher rates of household solar PV adoption in the US.

Image Credit: Solar Panels In Palo, Alto via Flickr CC
Image Credit: Solar Panels In Palo, Alto via Flickr CC

With that in mind the government of Palo Alto, California recently made significant improvements to their solar permitting process — of which, considerably faster approval is the primary improvement. Under the new system there is even the possibility of receiving approval the same day that you go in. Here’s hoping other municipalities in the US take heed and streamline their processes as well…

As SolarLove notes though, Palo Alto is quite ahead of the curve with regards to solar energy, it’s “one of just a few North American municipalities that has a solar feed-in tariff, the #1 driver of solar power growth around the world.” So it may be a little while until others catch up… 🙂


Palo Alto staff commented on the new system: “In the few months we have been piloting this program since we last met with the PVAC we have seen drastic improvements in approval and pass rates for both plan checks and inspections,” stated Development Service Director Peter Pirnejad. “Projects are getting through our process quicker and with more predictable results.”

“Process updates such as this advance our efforts for a fully open government. This type of collaboration between city staff and developers facilitates a deeper level of interaction within our community,” said Palo Alto City Manager James Keene.




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