AB 2188 makes California solar affordable
The very promising solar bill, AB 2188 is currently making its way through the California Legislature, with a good shot at taking the sting out of solar energy costs. As the U.S. and China fight a desperate tit-for-tat war on solar panel tariffs, consumers are left paying the extra fees, reducing our energy independence progression.
According to the ECOreport, the Californian bill AB 2188 would streamline the permit process, something that is still very much needed in the Sates, despite recent moves to make it easier to install solar energy. This could be the result of Sunrun, a company that recently released a report stating it could deliver an additional $5 billion into the State’s sagging economy.
Bill AB 2188 passed Assembly
So far, the bill passed the Assembly by a clear victory of 58 against 8. It is now going to the senate. CleanTechnica printed the interview ECOReports conducted with Walker Wright, Director of Government Affairs at Sunrun.
Soft costs hinder residential solar energy progression
The gist is that, soft costs are still slowing down the progression of solar energy for residential areas. The cost of solar panels and associated electronics might have come down dramatically over the last few years, but the non-hardware costs (soft costs), are negating the price declines. In other words, the soft costs associated with alternative energy are still a high barrier to making solar energy affordable. Europe has already done much to lower these soft costs, but the U.S. trails other countries there.
Soft costs include the permitting, customer acquisition, labor, installations, etc., and account for up to 50-70% of the total installation cost. In other words, if your solar array hardware cost is $10,000, be prepared to spend anywhere from another $5,000 to 7,500 more for the installation. Add to this that the permits can run an extra 5-20% of the total cost, depending on your location and size of the system, and you can see how many shy away from installing their own energy system.
Money talks to politicians
Petitions might be great, but bottom line dollars is still what talks most to politicians eager to keep California’s chronic budget mismanagement problems under control. By streamlining the permitting process across municipalities, this will reduce the costs, which will make solar more affordable to many homeowners across various income levels. This in turn, helps grow the California energy economy, while creating clean economy jobs, other wise known as green collar jobs.
Specifically, AB 2188 would enforce short permit time lines, with inspections happening within 5 days of the request and the application review within 24 hours. This would cut down on the current weeks it takes to approve a solar energy project for a residential rooftop. We hope AB 2188 goes through the California Senate and help boost the economy, which is to everyone’s advantage.