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Follow Germany’s Lead: Streamlined Permitting
Aug08

Follow Germany’s Lead: Streamlined Permitting

Germany, a leader in renewable energy, recently set a world record when it produced 22 GW of power on May 26th, 2012. At that point in time, half of the country’s electricity was generated from solar. Germany’s currently capacity for solar energy reaches about 28 GW and the country aims to reach 66GW by 2030. By the end of 2011, Germany had about 21.6 times more solar power installations per capita than the United States. Why is it that Germany, which has a much lower level of solar radiation than the United States, proportionally dwarfs the U.S. when it comes to solar installations? What is Germany doing differently? In addition to creating rewarding financial incentives for residential solar, such as their well-known Feed-in Tariff, the streamlined permitting process in Germany has given way to widespread adoption of solar energy. Germany has successfully scaled basic design and installation processes, driving down the cost and wait-time associated with residential solar. Moreover, the country has actually eliminated permitting for standard residential solar, which is part of the reason residential solar is so prominent in the country. Standardizing permitting and installation procedures to streamline these processes has helped make Germany a world leader in solar energy. In Germany, it’s not uncommon for a person to contact a solar company and have a system on their roof in less than a week- sometimes in a few days. Meanwhile, in the United States, customers frequently find themselves forking over hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in fees, undergoing a series of unnecessary inspections, and waiting weeks to have standard photovoltaic systems installed on their homes. The United States needs to follow Germany’s lead by streamlining the permitting process for standard residential solar applications. This would make residential solar considerably easier, cheaper, and more convenient for consumers in the United States. #DOE #SolarABCs Permitting in the United States: Though the price of solar products is decreasing and solar adoption is steadily increasing in the United States, the costly, inefficient permitting processes are a burden to the buyer and impede progress of the solar industry at large. Before installing a residential solar system, a permit must be obtained from the local Authority Having Jurisdiction, also known as an AHJ. Typically, permit applications for standard residential solar installations must be submitted to the AHJ in person. SunRun recommends a standard online application for solar permitting, which would drastically simplify the process. It would be much more efficient if all AHJs utilized a standard web-based application to streamline this process. This permitting processes varies too much across geographical location. This inconsistency between AHJs breeds a series of avoidable obstacles...

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Solarbuzz says solar installations hit an all time record in 2007

Solarbuzz reported last month that the world solar power market grew 62% in 2007. Germany represents for 47% of the world market for solar power. Spain in second place market increase was significant, over 480%!! The USA trailed in forth place at a 57% growth rate following Japan. The solar power industry in 2007 generated a global revenue stream of $17.2 Billion! The data by Solarbuzz is important for consumers to see the robust growth in the solar industry which proves the technology behind solar power is real, improving and can really help consumers across the globe reduce their bottom lines through solar power technology. If the USA had more federal government support for solar power and renewable energy in general, we could not only create millions of new jobs and innovate ourselves off foreign oil but we could invigorate our...

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Solar Energy on cloudy days, yes it works.

Does solar energy work on a cloudy day? Many consumers who live outside of the southwest USA are concerned about the performance of solar energy in low light conditions. Let’s use Germany as an example; the country has much less sun exposure compared to the USA. Germany is an unlikely hotspot for Solar Energy; but the country is adopting solar energy faster than the USA and has become one of the world’s leading solar power generators. Obviously Germany’s political system endorses renewable energy much more than the USA; this is why it makes sense for Germans in even low light conditions to create energy from the sun. The truth is, even on cloudy days, a solar energy system is still creating a significant amount of energy. Why does solar energy make so much sense in cloudy Germany and not in the sunny USA? The feed-in tariff (gives citizens generating power from the sun a guaranteed payment from the local utility company), which makes the financial payback very attractive for the people of Germany to go solar. So get on your phone and call your representative in Congress and tell them to model our solar energy incentive programs to a working model such as Germany or Japan (who are the true leaders in installing solar...

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