MD DC VA Solar Energy Industries Association

Saving Companies and Consumers Money in the District: Your Board of Directors Hard At Work

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Jul 14

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In May 2014, MDV-SEIA Board Member and DC Policy Committee Chair Ken Stadlin, President and CEO of Kenergy Solar, analyzed and created a comparison between existing DCRA permit fees, the fees proposed in the April 2014 Version 1.0 of DCRA Solar PV Permitting Process, and the proposed Budget Support Act pending with DC Council.

comp chart permit fee dc

Why It Matters

With an aggressive Renewable Portfolio Standard and an Alternative Compliance Payment of $500 per megaWatt hour the District of Columbia is one of the most attractive solar markets in the country.  However permitting costs and processes in the District have added exorbitant costs and delays to solar projects.

MDV-SEIA has worked with DDOE, DCRA, and the Council to try to streamline the permitting process and reduce the costs of permitting.  These efforts help our member companies to build more solar projects.

MDV-SEIA works to create and maintain healthy and efficient solar markets.  These conditions help legislators achieve policy goals while our member companies compete in healthy and equitable markets.

The Result

MDV-SEIA submitted a letter to Councilmembers Cheh and Orange that reads as follows:

Councilmembers Cheh and Orange:

The local solar industry is continuously thankful for your leadership on solar policy in the DC Council. In that role, I wanted to express the views of the Maryland-DC-Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association (MDV-SEIA) regarding the “Solar Permitting Fees Amendment” that has been proposed as part of the Budget Support Act.

MDV-SEIA has been engaged with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) since August 2013 regarding streamlining the permitting process for solar systems, including the recalculation of permitting fees associated with those applications. We have also engaged with the District Department of the Environment’s solar permitting working group. This has been a collaborative process and we remain hopeful this will result in a permitting process that we hope will end this year with a solar system permit process that incorporates national best practices and adds to the District’s ability to lead by example as one of the greenest cities in the country.

We appreciate the Mayor’s willingness to improve the solar permitting process. The fees, and means of calculating the total amounts, outlined in the amendment represent a major step forward in the District instituting permitting best practices for solar PV and solar thermal systems. This will contribute to the industry’s efforts to reduce installation costs for our systems and make solar more cost-competitive for the District’s energy consumers.

It is important to note that this is only one aspect of permitting process best practices. We look forward to continuing to work with DCRA on the continued streamlining of the permit process. This could include the digitizing of the entire application process, clearly stated system standards and code interpretations, and an overall more efficient process time that results in lower costs per application for both DCRA and solar installers.

Thank you both for your continued support of the District’s solar businesses

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