DCRA hosts workshop to educate about solar

By Ben Delman on May 30, 2017

DCRA logoThe Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) hosted the Green Building Residential Solar Workshop run by Keith Winston from DCRA and Torrey Beek Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE). The workshop was intended to educate homeowners about solar energy as well as cover some of the solar permitting complexities in D.C. market.

A combination of 50 homeowners, installers, architects, and non-profit representatives attended the workshop. During the seminar, Torrey outlined the basics of photovoltaics and the basic engineering of a solar panel. He also discussed the system flow starting at the sun’s surface and ending with the energy connection to your home and the grid.

Winston spoke predominantly about the permitting process of going solar and some unique aspects to the D.C. market. This included D.C.’s strong market for solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) and community solar. He announced DCRA is rolling out an Online Construction Permit Intake (OCPI 2.0) as part of the office’s continued effort to support solar and streamline the permitting process.

The portal will allow installers to apply for and receive their permits completely online. This is a strong step forward to decrease the “soft” cost of going solar. Soft costs are those costs of going solar that are not associated with materials and equipment, permitting being a prime example. This new system should also decrease the time it takes to install systems in the District. Winston concluded his talk by explaining the value of D.C. SRECs as well as talking about the Solar for All program, launched by DOEE earlier this year. Winston recommended DC SUN’s own SREC Guide as a great resource to learn more about SRECs.

It was encouraging to see so many interested homeowners at the event. Education is the key to going solar, and attending this comprehensive workshop was a great first step for many of these homeowners. We were excited to see DCRA host this event as a way to educate all district residents.

You can download the presentation by clicking here.