San Diego begins ‘instant permit' process for new residential solar customers

Source: Sunrun

San Diego's Development Services Department Tuesday began a residential solar instant permitting process intended to cut red tape and reduce processing times.

"This is just the latest in a series of moves we're making to streamline our permitting process so we can get things done faster," said Mayor Todd Gloria. "More and more San Diegans are wanting to put rooftop solar on their homes, and I'm thrilled that the city of San Diego is now helping them accomplish this by granting them instant permit approval for installation."

The instant permit process is made possible through a new self-certification process that allows residents to bypass city review of their installation plans by certifying a project's compliance with building codes, standards and ordinances, according to a city statement. It is available to residents applying for solar photovoltaic permits and battery-storage projects up to 38.4 kw for single-family homes and duplexes.

The project comes two months ahead of a state-mandated deadline created by Senate Bill 379, which "requires cities and counties to issue permits in real time for a residential solar energy system and provide an annual report to the California Energy Commission on the number of issued permits," according to the bill's text.

Previously, the process to apply for and obtain a permit took seven to 10 days on average.

"DSD handles about 12,000 applications for photovoltaic permits every year," said DSD Director Elyse W. Lowe. "Customers will love the expanded threshold for automatic permits for solar and battery installations in homes. This will save customers time and increase staff productivity overall with the new automated permit process."

As part of Gloria's efforts to reduce permitting time to allow for more affordable housing, in July, the DSD expanded its No-Plan Building Permit program to include applications for kitchen and bathroom remodels as well as door and window replacements. The department is also in the process of rolling out a new professional certification for office tenant improvements.

Those interested in applying for residential solar photovoltaic permits and battery storage projects can visit DSD's webpage, https://www.sandiego.gov/development-services/permits/solar-photovoltaic- permit.

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