PROJECT PROFILE: Center for Sustainable Energy (SEEDS2-SES)

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Project Name: Understanding Adoption of a Key Soft Cost Reduction Strategy: Modeling Administrative Choices Regarding Streamlined Solar Permitting
Funding Opportunity: Solar Energy Evolution and Diffusion Studies 2 – State Energy Strategies (SEEDS2-SES)
SunShot Subprogram: Soft Costs
Location: Oakland, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $1,199,935
Awardee Cost Share: N/A

This project analyzes streamlined solar permitting (SSP) and the associated bundle of standardized ordinances, documents, and practices. The team studies different authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) throughout California that have adopted SSP at different times in the recent past, as well as AHJs that still have not. By analyzing this diversity of jurisdictions, the team is able to scientifically design SSP packages that are ideally suited for other jurisdictions around the country, and will design such packages in at least two other states.

APPROACH

The project takes a novel approach to addressing permitting barriers that slow the deployment of solar technologies. It uses rigorous social science methodology, such as discrete choice experiments, to determine the best strategies for SSP diffusion. The team develops nationally consistent data on the characteristics of AHJs that are relevant to SSP adoption and investigates the administrative decision-making process of early SSP adopters.

INNOVATION

This project will result in data-driven recommendations for how to effectively engage AHJs on permitting issues, providing actionable strategies that speak to the unique factors influencing the local government decision-making process and providing the ability for any AHJ to design a SSP product that is ideally suited for its jurisdiction. By understanding the needs of different AHJs across the country, this project will allow for more efficient and cost-effective permitting processes, making it more affordable for people to choose solar energy.