As the cost for rooftop solar has dramatically declined, more South Florida homeowners are taking control of their energy choices by going solar. But the hardware only represents about one-third of the total costs of a residential solar project. The non-hardware (or “soft”) expenses include the cost of permitting, inspections, and interconnection.
Unfortunately, the current permitting process for residential solar installations in Miami-Dade County takes too long and drives up costs. Instead of taking a few days, permits for solar are sometimes taking months.
The solution is for Miami-Dade to adopt the “Gold” solar permitting guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SolSmart program. Miami-Dade currently follows SolSmart’s lowest-level “Bronze” standards. The Gold designation would require a streamlined permitting pathway for small solar systems with a turn-around of no more than three days. The Solsmart program provides free technical assistance to help local governments achieve their goals.
Six Florida cities, including Orlando and West Palm Beach, have adopted the Gold standard. Miami-Dade County took a major step forward in September of 2018. County commissioners unanimously adopted a resolution to move the county to a gold standard. The next step is for the county to develop a report about its current permitting process and develop ways to improve it.
If you believe that your local government should make it easier and more affordable for you and your neighbors to go solar, please sign the petition to urge Miami-Dade County to adopt SolSmart’s Gold permitting standards.
U.S. Department of Energy’s Solsmart Program. — The SolSmart program works to help communities make it easier for residents to go solar.
Solsmart Gold, Silver, and Bronze Designation Criteria. — SolSmart has developed standards to guide municipalities in their rulemaking around solar.
Benchmarking Non-Hardware Balance-of-System (Soft) Costs for U.S. Photovoltaic Systems, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 2013. — This report evaluates the various expenses involved in going solar.