LIPA Encouraging Solar Energy Through $15,000 Offer to Towns

Environmental Law

 

In order to encourage the use of solar power, LIPA is offering Long Island townships $15,000 to pass legislation by December 31, 2011, that will fast-track permitting of solar panels for residential homes.

The legislation LIPA is encouraging the towns to pass will eliminate the $150 permit application fee, or reduce the fee to $50, and require permit approval within 14 days. Fast-tracking the application process will allow homeowners to quickly install solar panels on their homes. There may be two hiccups in this speedy permit application process. First, if the home is in a historic district, a review by the landmark preservation group will delay the process and the permit will not be issued within the two week mandatory issuance period. The second obstacle will occur if not all structures on a property are legal. Under current building department policies, the issuance of permits is dependent on all buildings being legal, so if any illegal structures exist on the property, such as sheds or building extensions, the fast-track process could not be applied and issuance would be delayed.

LIPA’s financial contribution to Long Island townships can kickstart residential solar panel use, reduce the traditional electricity load, and incentivize “going green.” It should be considered by all Long Island townships.

For more information on energy and environmental law, please contact Miriam Villani or Jason Kaplan.

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