Solar supporters urge Miami-Dade County to speed up permitting process

By Ben Delman on August 1, 2018

Solar is soaring in Miami-Dade County. Solar supporters are working to ensure this continues by urging County Commissioners and Miami-Dade

In progress installation in Miami.

County‘s Permitting Department to improve its approval process. Last month, Commissioners passed a bill through subcommittee that urges the county adopt the “Gold” solar permitting guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SolSmart program.

This reform will enable more Miami-Dade County homeowners to go solar and help grow the solar industry. The current permitting process for residential solar installations in Miami-Dade County is perceived as too complicated, takes too long and drives up costs. Instead of taking a few days, permits for solar are sometimes taking months.

The hardware costs of going solar only represent about one-third of the total cost of a residential solar project. The non-hardware (or “soft”) expenses include the cost of permitting, inspections, and interconnection. The County 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.

“It’s critical that we do everything possible to make our communities more resilient,” said Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, a sponsor of the resolution. “When we give residents the ability to power their homes with sunshine, we also grow our local economy. ‘Going for the Gold’ means we streamline the permitting process so more people and the community can benefit. We want to be leaders in putting sunshine to work in the Sunshine State.”

The Solsmart program provides free technical assistance to help local governments achieve their goals. Boynton Beach, Lantana, Orlando, Satellite Beach, and West Palm Beach, have adopted the Gold standard. Miami-Dade would be the first County in the state to adopt the Gold standard.

“Miami-Dade County has achieved SolSmart Bronze designation by taking actions to expand solar locally, including creating an online solar permitting checklist, enabling PACE financing, and integrating solar into planning documents,” said Zach Greene, Program Director at The Solar Foundation. “SolSmart will continue to work closely with the County as it pursues higher designation tiers. We are excited that Miami-Dade wants to make it faster, easier, and cheaper for its residents and businesses to install solar.”

The full Miami-Dade Commission is expected to vote on the resolution in the fall. Miami-Dade residents can click here to join the more than 350 residents who have alread urged their commissioners to support it.