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California Briefing / Los Angeles County

Plan would slash cost of solar panel permits

July 08, 2009|Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Los Angeles County and local municipalities are charging significantly higher fees and taking longer to issue solar panel permits than neighboring areas, according to a recent survey by two Southern California Sierra Club chapters.

Solar panel permitting fees in L.A. County average $1,143, more than twice the average permit fee, the study found.

In response to the findings and a Department of Public Works review of county inspection costs, county supervisors unanimously approved a proposal by Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky on Tuesday that the county lower solar panel permitting fees to $370. Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas was absent.

The study conducted by the Angeles and Loma Prieta Sierra Club chapters between February and April found an average permit cost of $493 among 250 municipalities for permitting the installation of residential solar panels.

Jim Stewart, co-chairman of the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter's global warming committee, said the survey found overcharging and delays in many communities.

"It discourages people from putting solar on. Every extra dollar is more of a hindrance to getting the solar installed," he said.

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

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