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Vermont enacts new law that streamlines solar PV registration process to help ease permitting costs

In January, SunRun released a report that detailed how the permitting process of local governments in the US was adding an additional US$2,500 price tag to each solar installation, making the process of installing a solar system more cumbersome for installers and customers. In a response to the potential US$1 billion savings that a more streamlined process could save local governments, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed H.56 into law; a supposedly easier registration process for solar systems at and below 5kW.

Vermont’s new registration process, which goes into effect January 2012 and eliminates permitting, authorizes solar customers to install their system 10 days after completing a registration form and certificate of compliance with interconnection requirements. If during the 10 day waiting period the customer’s utility does not raise any interconnection concerns, the customer is issued a Certificate of Public Good and the project has the green light to be installed.

"Cutting unnecessary red tape and costly permitting for small renewables should be a national priority.  It will help us meet our energy needs and make domestic solar competitive worldwide," said David Blittersdorf, president and CEO of AllEarth Renewables, manufacturer and installer of the AllSun tracker. 

In addition to passing the new legislation for solar registration, Vermont’s government also enhanced the state’s net metering program with a statewide solar customer benefit that gives solar a minimum value of US$0.20. The change is expected to escalate the allowable size of net metering projects from 250kW to 500kW, allow the per-utility net metering cap to grow from 2% to 4% and, overall, improve the group net metering billing.


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    Forecasting the evolution of a young, dynamic industry is by definition an uncertain business, and solar is no exception. Rarely, if ever, do the numbers broadcast by any of the various bodies involved in the PV prediction game tally, and even historical deployment rates remain the subject of hot debate. The paradox is that getting forecasts broadly right is going to become increasingly important over the next few years, particularly for those involved in producing the equipment that will support whatever levels of demand come to pass.



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