The City’s Department of Licenses and Inspections (L+I) recently announced significant changes that will streamline the process of installing solar in Philadelphia. The changes make Philadelphia a more solar-friendly city by allowing solar projects to use a new EZ Permit for qualifying installations up to 10 kilowatts in capacity. This update, combined with the rollout of online permitting earlier this year, will make it faster, easier, and more affordable to install solar. In response to the updates, Solarize Philly is offering an additional “EZ Permit Discount” of $250 to participants who sign a contract before the group buying program closes on November 30.
“Solar companies, we heard your call for a streamlined permitting process and responded. Philadelphia wants you to do business here in our city,” Mayor Jim Kenney said. “We need to substantially grow the use of solar in Philadelphia as part of our strategy to combat climate change, and we need your help to get us there.”
L+I established an EZ Permit for solar, meaning that plans are not required as part of the submission. Qualifying online solar permit applications will be reviewed within three business days, and applications submitted in-person will be reviewed on the same day.
This announcement follows the City’s 2019 measure to establish a $200 cap for building permits for solar, a fee which was previously priced at up to tens of thousands of dollars. The building permit fee reduction and Solar EZ Permit represent improvements to the established solar permitting process, which was developed by L+I in partnership with the Office of Sustainability in 2016 and included an expedited review for solar permits and the exclusion of certain equipment costs in the electrical permit fee calculation. Philadelphia earned the designation as a Solsmart Gold City in 2017 from the U.S. Department of Energy for its efforts to streamline solar permitting and has since been highlighted as a national leader in reducing solar soft costs.
The Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA) also announced a $250 “EZ Permit Discount,” which will be offered to qualifying Solarize Philly participants who sign a contract before the group buying program closes on November 30. Participants will be referred to Solar States, the pre-approved Solarize Philly installer, for a free solar assessment.
Income-qualified households that sign up will be invited to participate in the Solar Savings Grant Program, a pilot program that pairs grants and financing to include low- and moderate-income households in Solarize Philly. The Solar Savings Grant Program still has a few spots remaining for qualified applicants so property owners are strongly encouraged to apply before the deadline, which is October 31.