Solar Growth Hampered By Government Regulation

Created:
Fri, 2011-01-21 09:11

If you've been following the news lately, you'll no doubt have heard about the demise of American Solar Panel Manufacturers. Essentially, China is driving the prices of panels down so low that many American manufacturers are simply giving up and buying Chinese made panels. While I think this is a disaster for American manufacturing, I thought this would be a boon for Amercian Solar installers as the cost of panels has drop up to 80% in the last few years (depending on the type of panel). A drop in panel prices should mean that more homeowners can afford to install solar and that solar becomes even more competitive with regular grid tied electric prices.

However, today the New York Times published an article that aptly points out that regulation is also a big factor in the costs of solar installations. In fact, the study that the solar regulation article cited states that each Solar installation costs an average of $2500 in permit and inspection fees - Wow! That is simply amazing. I know that the whole system of rebates and incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy is a mess (see the DSIRE database or Everblue's own Energy Auditor State by State Guide to see what I mean), but I never thought of permit fees.

The study goes on to claim that simply streamlining municpal codes would be the equivalent of a $1 billion stimulus. In reality though, streamlining the codes of tens of thousands of local municipalities will be a hurculean task. In the end, if the government is even half successful then Renewable energy will become even that much more competitive.

Forward to a Friend