The Coast News Group
Commercial solar panels, like the ones at Alga Norte Community Park take about five to seven days to get permit approval in the city. Residential rooftop panels take less than one day, thanks to a pilot program launched last December. Photo by Ellen Wright
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Faster permitting OK’d for Carlsbad rooftop solar panels

CARLSBAD — On Tuesday morning, the City Council approved a change to city codes to allow for faster permitting for solar roof top panels.

According to Carlsbad employee Carl Stiehl, the city’s planning division has already been offering expedited permitting for residential rooftop solar panels but the city codes needed to comply with state mandates.

Stiehl said the pilot program that was launched last December to expedite the permitting process has been a success.

“(It has) been well received by both residents and the solar contracting industry,” said Stiehl. “Carlsbad is ready to provide excellent customer service to our residents who want to save money, generate electricity and reduce their carbon footprint.”

Over the last nine months, 850 permits were issued, all in one day.

Stiehl said the program aligns with the city’s goals.

“This program also aligns with the community vision to promote sustainability and the city’s draft climate action plan goal to minimize regulatory barriers to solar system installation,” said Stiehl.

Large commercial or residential solar panels don’t meet the streamlining criteria because they’re larger and more complex.

Permitting for those types of projects takes between five and seven business days.

A permit for solar panels costs about $150 in Carlsbad.

The change to the city’s municipal code was adopted after Assembly Bill 2188 passed which requires cities to expedite residential rooftop solar panels.

San Diego County residents are the second largest group of solar energy producers in the state, following Los Angeles County.