Policy:

Streamlining Rooftop Solar Permitting to Meet New York's Climate Goals

May 6, 2021

A.6160 (Otis): Allows municipalities to create a self-certification program, in which a building permit may be issued upon certification from a professional, registered architect or engineer that the intended work meets the requirements of relevant codes and regulations.

A.6242 (Otis): Allows municipalities to create a conditional building permit program, where building departments may accept construction documents, required for code compliance, prior to issuing a
certificate of occupancy without a bull examination from the building department based off a certification from a professional, registered architect or engineer.

Together, A.6160 and A.6242 will:

1. Reduce soft cost and alleviate timelines for solar projects
• Permitting is typically the largest bottleneck for getting solar projects off the ground. These bills will shorten timelines, helping more solar projects to get deployed at a faster pace.
• These improved timelines will save money for the solar industry, providing an opportunity for solar developers and installers to expand their reach and launch more projects, especially as the residential solar market has plateaued. *

2. Support the state’s CLCPA goals
• With the passage of the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), New York State is required to meet a number of goals, including 6 GW of solar energy by 2025.
• As of Q4 in 2020, the state is under 3 GW of solar. With improved timelines, more rooftop solar can be deployed in the state at a faster rate, upholding the state’s energy goals.

3. Remove the burden on local permitting and building departments
• As these measures help to free up a backlog of permits, the burden on municipal building department staff will be eased.
• Local governments and municipalities have the opportunity to increase efficiency in the building permit process, saving time and money.

4. Boost local economies in a post-COVID world
• Self-certification and conditional building permits can help to spur local economies through increased solar deployment in our communities.
• More solar deployment will also create more local jobs in clean energy, getting our communities back to work.

* As per Solar Energy Industries Association’s data, residential solar deployment steadily increased in New York State through 2016, but has been declining since. 2016 saw a peak of over 200 MW of residential solar installed; however, since then installations have decreased to just over 100 MW.