A Bay Area solar company has given City of Milpitas the grade of "A" for the ease of gaining required city permits to install solar panels in their homes or businesses.
Complete Solar Solution, a Foster City-based company, last week informed city staff that Milpitas ranked No. 8 on a list of California cities that met its so-called Solar Ease Index.
"The report ranks cities based on permit times and fees to install solar. Your city ranked well because permits typically take one day. Milpitas also has relatively low permit fees ($141)," Dan Garfield, a Complete Solar representative told city officials in an e-mail Aug. 14.
According to the firm, on its "best of" Top 10 list, Milpitas was one behind City of Berkeley and one ahead of City and County of San Francisco for ease of granting solar. Menlo Park was first on the list, while City of Oakland came in 10th place.
Also according to Complete Solar, on its related "worst of list," California cities like Fullerton, Corona, Monterey Park and Concord did not measure up. According to their criteria, the first place "worst city" was Pico Rivera, Calif. -- a city about 11 miles southeast of Los Angeles.
According to the company, as part of the Solar Ease Index, a solar rank is a combined statistic of both permit times and permit fees.
"The cities friendliest to solar have fast permitting times and low or non-existent fees. Unfriendly cities have long waits for permits, sometimes up to 30 days, and high fees. The goal of solar ranking reports is to help cities understand how they're helping, or hurting the efforts of homeowners to switch to clean, safe, and affordable solar energy," the company's website states.
On Friday, Milpitas officials were happy about the company's findings and claimed this city granted greater access to solar installation for its residents and others, which saved time and money toward installing solar panels.
"We have developed detailed drawings for generic solar installation on a single-family home that is available online and also the homeowner can obtain solar permits online," Milpitas Chief Building Official Keyvan Irannejad said. "Streamlining the process by using technology and having all information available online minimizes staff time in plan review and permit processing. This allows us to reduce the cost of permit fees since our plan check and permit fee is cost recovery of staff time."
Irannejad added it's great to be recognized for the effort and showed the city was being efficient.
"By cutting red tape homeowners and contractors can get permits and inspections in one day," he said.
To view Complete Solar Solution's report, visit completesolar.com/solar-rankings.