Policy:

Memo of Support: Rooftop Solar Permitting Bills A.6160 and
A.6242

May 6, 2021

The New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA) supports A.6160 and A.6242 and urges their immediate passage. A.6160 would allow municipalities to create programs allowing self- certification for building permits and A.6242 would allow municipalities to create programs allowing the use of conditional building permits. Both measures would alleviate permitting timelines and reduce soft costs for rooftop solar projects.

A self-certification program would allow a licensed registered architect or professional engineer to inspect construction projects and confirm that the project is in compliance with the applicable codes and regulations. Municipal building departments would be allowed to accept construction documents, certified by an applicant who is a professional architect or professional engineer, for issuance of a certificate of occupancy through the conditional building permit program, eliminating the need for a full examination from the local building department. This creates an expedited process, saving time and resources for the municipality and applicant, allowing new projects to get off the ground quickly.

Consequently, as more projects get off the ground at faster rates, solar can be deployed in New York State more quickly, supporting the goals set forth in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. New York State has less than 4 years to meet the 2025 goal of 6 GW of solar energy and is over 3 GW away from that goal (as of Q4 2020). A.6160 and A.6242 will contribute to continued, rapid deployment of clean, renewable solar energy.

Self-certification and conditional building permits would ease the burden on local permitting and building departments, which have been facing a backlog of permits due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Local governments and municipalities have an opportunity increase efficiency in the building permit process, encouraging development and increasing investments in our communities.

For all these reasons, NYSEIA supports A.6160 and A.6242 and urges their prompt passage.

For information about this memorandum of support, please contact Shyam Mehta, Executive Director,
NYSEIA, at shyam@nyseia.org.