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permit for solar panels in west covina

I find it quite ironic that the City of West Covina has the Sun in their city seal because there is one thing I can guarantee you, West Covina does not support solar energy. I learned this the hard way through the miserable process of working with City Hall to obtain a permit to install solar panels in my backyard. I was born and raised in West Covina and had a great experience the 26 years I have lived in this city, although that changed in a heartbeat when I began working with the city on our project, the battle of the solar panel brands. All I wanted to do was install a few solar panels, using UL listed parts and a very popular pre-engineered ground mount called GroundTrac made by ProSolar that has been permitted all over the US. When I first started the project I thought obtaining the permit would be a breeze since we’ve helped many of our customers secure permits for their projects. Plus, I had Dennis Epp of Heritage Solar wet stamp the plan set. Dennis is a well respected electrical engineer, C-10 contractor, and NABCEP Certified Solar Installer and his company is a top solar contractor in Southern California. Going into the project I figured the City of West Covina would be appreciative of a homegrown citizen putting together such an important project that would help solar energy move forward, but boy I was wrong. I was confident our plan set was in good order before submitting it, because I googled “West Covina photovoltaic permit” and found a document on westcovina.org titled, Basic Information Required for Photovoltaic Plan Check Submittal. I submitted the three copies of the plan set on December 8th and was instantly approved by the planning department. When I got the Plans to Building and Engineering, that’s where things started to get rocky. They wanted a fee to “check my plan” and if I wanted an expedited check I would have to pay an even higher fee. I paid $166.50 for the “expedited plan check” which guaranteed me a response on my project within 7 working days, in our case that would be December 21st, since the city does not work on Friday. On the 6th the working day, I stopped in unexpectedly to check on the status of my project and they told me the plan checker had not even looked at our plans yet, at that point I could smell the trouble ahead of me. One of the plan sets we submitted went to the West Covina Fire Department. They called me on December 15th and told me...

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cities overcharging for solar power permits

The Sierra Club, an environmental protection advocacy group did a study of solar panel permitting fees in the Bay Area (Northern California) and the results are shocking. Solar power is associated with a high upfront investment to get started and cities that charge extravagant fees for people to install solar panels are not helping push the green energy revolution forward. They’re a hindrance to the process of helping our environment and economy get back on track by making solar power more accessible to it’s citizens. Many cities across the USA have made acquiring a building permit for solar panels completely free but on the other hand cities like Cupertino, CA charge $11,737 dollars for a building permit for a 49kW (kilowatt) commercial solar electric system, a system valued at $475,000. A year ago Bethel Lutheran Church in Cupertino installed 150 solar panels reducing the church’s electric bill by 40% and the environmental benefits the system contributed. The church was shocked when they received a bill for $5,700 from the city for the permitting fees! After three meetings with the city council Pastor Randy Pabst was able to bring down the fees to $1,o00. What do you think about solar panel permitting fees? are they excessive in your city or are you lucky to live in a progressive city that does not charge for solar panel...

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