Costs to install solar technology are set to decrease in Colorado under new legislation signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper last Friday.

HB-1199, known as the Fair Permit Act, will save homeowners and businesses hundreds of dollars on permit-related fees to install solar electric and solar thermal systems.

In what will likely become a new national model for lowering solar fees, the Fair Permit Act flew through the legislature by large majorities.The bipartisan legislation was sponsored by Representative Bob Gardner and Senator Bob Bacon.

According to the US Department of Energy, permitting, inspection, interconnection and other non-hardware costs comprise about 30-40% of the total installed cost of a solar system.

“Solar costs have just come down in Colorado,” said Neal Lurie, executive director of the nonprofit Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association. “This bipartisan legislation helps promote local economic development and reinforces Colorado’s role as a national leader in solar energy.”

Most solar installations require a permit from a local government or state agency, which can add about $2,516 per US residential installation on average and can exceed $100,000 for large-scale installations, according to a recent national study. This legislation has received national attention and has been closely followed by solar businesses across the U.S. and beyond.

The Fair Permit Act limits solar permit and related fees to a local government’s actual costs in issuing the permit, not to exceed $500 for a residential installation or $1,000 for a commercial system. This legislation also closed loopholes and improves transparency in the permit process.

The US Department of Energy, through its SunShot Program, has recently set a goal to reduce permit and inspection costs by 88% by streamlining processes and reducing unnecessary fees.

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