Rhode Island is now one of only two states in the country that has streamlined and standardized its solar permitting process to the benefit of its citizens and the planet.

Governor Gina Raimondo recently signed landmark legislation (S.0562) creating a common process for the application, review and awarding of building and electrical permits for solar. The process will be used by every city and town in Rhode Island starting in January.

This means consumers in Rhode Island can get their solar faster. And it underscores the state’s gubernatorial and legislative commitment to renewable energy.

Right now, installers like New England Clean Energy deal with hundreds of permitting processes, because each city and town sets its own. This creates an administrative burden that slows the process of going solar for installers and, more important, homeowners and businesses looking to save with solar.

Vermont is the other state with a standardized solar permitting process. New York and California have the next best thing, offering standardized permits that local governments can adopt.

Vermont’s experience demonstrates that this isn’t just a feel-good move on Rhode Island’s part. It’s a smart business move. According to this Solar Industry article, since Vermont standardized and streamlined its permitting, it has become “number one in solar jobs per capita in the nation. Permit times decreased from an average of 45 days to just 10 days.” So this mundane change should give a serious boost to Rhode Island’s already growing solar industry.

Speaking of Rhode Island becoming a leader in the renewable energy movement, this article by ecoRI News reports that the state has been ranked third in the country for solar-energy friendliness. That’s up from 15 last year, proving what a few good solar policies can do.


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