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Tuesday, November 20 , 2018, 4:40 am | Overcast 49º


Santa Barbara Lowering Fees for Solar Energy Permits, Expediting Approval Process

The city of Santa Barbara is making it easier, quicker and less expensive for people to install solar panels on their home. 

The council voted 7-0 on Tuesday to move forward with a quick-and-limited review of rooftop solar energy projects.

"It's part of a larger statewide effort to encourage more renewable energy," said Andrew Stuffler, chief building official. "The ordinance does encourage the installation of solar energy systems."

Under the proposed rules, homeowners will see the current $395 fee for small solar energy system permits drop to $237. It also eliminates discretionary review by the Historic Landmarks Commission and the Architectural Board of Review for residential solar energy projects.

"These new guidelines will make it easier for residents to add solar panels to their homes, allowing Santa Barbara homeowners to capture the economic benefits associated with solar energy in addition to the greenhouse gas emissions associated with these projects," said April Price, an energy associate at the Community Environmental Council.

Applicants will be able to obtain a permit electronically and will not have to go before the city's discretionary design board reviews.

Review will be limited to health and safety, including zoning setbacks and building heights.

In 2011, the state set a policy that requires at least one-third of the state’s electricity come from clean energy sources by 2020.

State lawmakers in 2014 mandated cities and counties to adopt a solar energy systems ordinance that expedited, at minimal cost, the solar energy system permit process.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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