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A simple way cities can make it easier for people to go solar » Yale Climate Connections

Philadelphia native Marc Shackelford-Rowell says the solar industry creates jobs, helps the climate, and reduces people’s energy costs. So he wants to make it easier for solar projects to move forward in Philly. 

Shackelford-Rowell works as a project manager for Solar States, a Philly-based company.

He says when he started there, it often took more than a month — and a lot of paperwork — for the city to issue a permit for a new installation. And projects were often held up in review.

“Some developers would be hesitant to add solar to their new construction projects,” Shackelford-Rowell says.

The problem is not unique to Philly. Experts says that permitting and other so-called soft costs can add substantially to the price tag of a project, so it can be a barrier for rapid solar adoption.

“I saw how turning around permits and getting projects through the approval phase was having a strain on the industry,” he says.

So Shackelford-Rowell worked with other companies and city agencies to develop an expedited permitting process for residential solar.

Now contractors can fill out a simple online form and get a standard project approved within three days.

Shackelford-Rowell says the streamlined process makes the City of Brotherly Love a more welcome place for solar.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media

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