NWEAC SWEAC Pace - Solar Permitting Workshop

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 Solar panel biz guy w piggy bank

Last week NWEAC, SWEAC, and PACE Law hosted an unique and important conference about Solar permitting procedures and regulations. The long range plan is to standardize as much as possible to enable the industry to grow rapidly in our County with the consequent impact of reduced energy costs and GHG Emissions.

The following is a succinct summary of the day by Nina Orville, our SWEAC partner:

“The event went very well - we were very pleased by the attendance (quantity as well as who showed up) and the quality of the presentation.  We had at least 65 people in attendance, the significant majority of whom represented local governments in Westchester and surrounding counties as well as reps from utilities (Con Ed and NYPA) and solar installers.

The turn-out demonstrated the level of interest in Westchester County and the Mid-Hudson in preparing to welcome an expected surge in solar installations: 

· 44 people representing local governments.  5 counties represented, 25 municipalities total... 

· Very strong Westchester representation - 35 people representing a total of 20 local governments.

Lower prices for solar installations and strong support for solar from the state, as well as programs SWEAC and NWEAC are developing in Westchester are expected to result in a dramatic increase in solar installations locally. The role that local governments play in making this possible is significant – every installation must comply with their zoning, go through their permitting process and be inspected by them.  The organizers of the event want the jurisdictions to be able to support the opportunities that solar brings while making sure there isn’t undue burden for local governments.  Streamlining solar permitting is one important step in marrying those goals.

In addition, achieving consistency of processes is important as Westchester has 45 municipalities, each with their own zoning and permitting requirements for solar installations. We recognize that this lack of consistency creates inefficiencies as well. We learned that the municipalities are at a similar baseline - none have information about requirements for solar installations available on-line, none have check-lists for installers. The attendance shows the level of interest in addressing these opportunities for improvement.

NWEAC and SWEAC are planning to partner with others who can help bring additional assistance to Westchester and the Mid-Hudson region to move this process.”