County May Lower Solar Panel Cost Again
By Ben Antonius
FAIRFIELD - Several cities have waived their fees for homeowners who want to install solar panels - and Solano County will have the chance to join that club on Tuesday.
After significantly dropping its fees in September, the county has been exploring another decrease, which if passed would make it even cheaper to put the panels on a roof or in a backyard assembly.
County staff are recommending against the change, but county supervisors could reject that and cut the fees if they feel encouraging cleaner energy use is worth the lost money.
The item is scheduled for the morning session of Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting, which starts at 8:30 a.m. at the county government center on Texas Street.
The county reduced average solar fees in September from about $1,100 to $257 because newer solar systems are simpler to install and therefore require less government oversight and permits.
The Sierra Club and photovolatanic contractors subsequently asked county planners to look into further reductions, wrote David Cliche, county building official. Many places have taken that step in recent years, including Sacramento County and the city of Sacramento.
The discussion comes less than two months after the state launched the $3 billion California Solar Initiative, an incentive program aimed at lowering the cost for homeowners who want to install solar cells on their roof.
Solar systems are still expensive to purchase - $30,000 is typical for a family home. But extensive rebates can often halve the cost.
"Both types of systems are purported to return that cost in electrical savings in a matter of years," wrote Cliche.
Reach Ben Antonius at 427-6977 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
At a glance
Who: Solano County Board of Supervisors
What: Meeting topics include fees for solar panels and changes to the general plan advisory committee.
When: 8:30 a.m. Tuesday
Where: Board of Supervisors Chamber, 675 Texas St.
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