Study: Solar industry job growth slowed by red tape

The Sacramento BeeJuly 25, 2011 

Reducing government red tape for the California solar industry would create nearly 4,000 additional jobs statewide over the next decade, according to a new study.

SunRun, a leading San Francisco-based solar provider, said inconsistent government permitting processes in California add nearly $2,500 to the average cost of installing a residential solar power system, creating barriers to growth for the fast-emerging industry.

"You're trying to promote a 21st-century product by putting it through a 20th-century approval process," said Ethan Sprague, head of government affairs at SunRun.

"It's not a smart way to grow the economy."

The SunRun study comes as Gov. Jerry Brown is in Los Angeles today to open the Governor's Conference on Local Renewable Energy Resources.

Brown has called for the installation of 12,000 megawatts of solar energy generated from roofs of warehouses, parking lot structures, schools, and other commercial buildings throughout the state. The 12,000 megawatt goal is equivalent to the amount of electricity used by 12 million households.

Solar providers and other renewable energy companies have long complained that the permitting process in California is burdensome and costly.

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