Santa Barbara Launches On-Demand Solar Permitting

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Source: City of Santa Barbara

In an effort to improve local energy resiliency, the City is further streamlining the permitting process for both solar and solar with battery energy storage systems through On-Demand Permitting (ODP). ODP eliminates the plan check phase in permitting and issues a permit immediately, as long as the proposed project meets minimum requirements. 

With the increasing threat of power shutoffs due to high winds, fire danger, and other natural disasters, energy resilience and reliability have become significant concerns for Santa Barbara and building distributed energy resources, like energy generation and storage, is an important step towards ensuring both. Ultimately, the City hopes to support widespread adoption of solar and battery energy storage systems by accelerating the permitting process.

 The City of Santa Barbara is committed to meeting its energy and climate goals through thoughtful policies and programs that make it easier for our community to take sustainable action. Streamlining solar and battery storage permits through this on-demand program will support an energy-resilient Santa Barbara.

 Solar systems rated less than 10kW with optional energy storage systems less than 27kWh are eligible for this type of permit. City Building and Safety staff will verify that the project has met the permits agreed upon terms and conditions during project inspection.  

Building contractors can get these instant online permits through the Accela Citizen Access portal:

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Chip of SB Feb 10, 2021 07:51 AM
Santa Barbara Launches On-Demand Solar Permitting

No way! If you want to open a business, they will hold you up for months with their insane permitting and design review process. If the goal is energy resiliency, we should be installing generators, or better yet a local backup power station of some sort. Perhaps encouraging the local production of oil and natural gas in a manner that meets our labor and environmental standards would enhance our energy resiliency. Of course the city does everything in its power to shut down our local oil and gas industry, so it seems energy resiliency is not really the goal. Solar and batteries are extremely inefficient, and their manufacture causes horrific environmental destruction and human suffering. Given those facts, it seems natural the city would encourage solar and battery installations. I find it amazing how comfortable we are with supporting slave labor, child labor, and horrendously destructive mining and manufacturing practices as long as it all happens overseas.

Voice of Reason Feb 10, 2021 09:06 AM
Santa Barbara Launches On-Demand Solar Permitting

Local environmentalism is NIMBY'ism at it's worst. If you don't take a global view with environmentalism you're just putting the problems on others so you can walk out your back door, breathe in the fresh air and feel good about yourself (ignoring child labor built your solar panels, the lithium in your Tesla battery strip mined, and gas powering your sprinter van pumped from a far away country that doesn't even have environmental protections let alone enforces them).

RHS Feb 09, 2021 04:33 PM
Santa Barbara Launches On-Demand Solar Permitting

Better late I suppose. It took months (between SCE and the city) to get my solar panels OKd a few years back. I have no idea if this new plan will help and it probably does nothing to move SCE to sign off on a competitor in any event.

dukemunson Feb 09, 2021 04:58 PM
Santa Barbara Launches On-Demand Solar Permitting

I’ve dealt with SCE a few times too many... and can definitely say that working/dealing with them is pretty similar to dealing with the city of SB... a massive headache!

Sail380 Feb 10, 2021 11:44 AM
Santa Barbara Launches On-Demand Solar Permitting

I can relate to the excessively long process of getting solar panels. We have had ours for 7 trouble free years. The only trouble we have had has nothing to do with the system. While refinancing to a more friendly rate the mortgage company needed all sorts of documents that show we own the panels and are not leased.

sbbeachguy Feb 10, 2021 06:55 AM
Santa Barbara Launches On-Demand Solar Permitting

It would be nice if the County would follow the City's lead. It took us 30+ days for a permit for a simple rooftop solar system 5 years ago. Now the County has it down to 10 days.

dogsnsand Feb 10, 2021 08:44 AM
Santa Barbara Launches On-Demand Solar Permitting

The temp gauge on this website is pretty off - it's not in the 30's outside.
City is late to the table as always, but permitting solar quickly is a good thing. Can't believe it's 2021, and they finally did it. Chip, I'm with you on being super careful about where and who we buy panels and batteries from. Americans are too quick to support cheap imports, not realizing the human rights and environmental abuses required to achieve such low cost.

gnusman Feb 10, 2021 11:53 AM
Santa Barbara Launches On-Demand Solar Permitting

RE Voice of Reason. While he/she brings up valid problems (lithium, child labor et al) that's a process that can be ironed out, and technology is fast helping to create better panels and batteries that don't have such downsides. In any case, petroleum-based heating is part of the climate change problem; generating electricity is more and more becoming renewable. It's the future, petroleum was much worse until standards required cleaning it up a bit, the same will happen with the solar industry.
And yes, it feels MAHVELOUS having my house generating electricity and powering my electric car. I'm doing my part and have inspired neighbors and others to go solar or drive e- or hybrid cars.
Off the grid is good!

Chip of SB Feb 10, 2021 01:00 PM
Santa Barbara Launches On-Demand Solar Permitting

Someday if/when solar and battery technology advances to the point that it is more efficient and environmentally friendly than fossil fuels I think it will take off on its own without government intervention. It’s not there yet. I feel tempted to put a solar system in since it would save me money due to the relevant penalties and subsidies. However, I am reluctant to do so because of the environmental impact and humanitarian cost of solar and battery technology. I don’t want to support child labor, or contribute to the widespread uranium contamination in the Congo associated with cobalt mining that is destroying the environment and causing birth defects for the families who live nearby. Locally sourced fossil fuel energy is cleaner and more responsible from an environmental and humanitarian point of view.

a-1612992698 Feb 10, 2021 01:31 PM
Santa Barbara Launches On-Demand Solar Permitting

How about ending subsidies for fossil fuels? I don't know you CHIP but I find it a bit hard to believe that you suddenly are concerned about child labor and that this has shaped your decision making on other personal choices. Do you really think the environmental impact of batteries and solar panels is worse than fossil fuels?

Chip of SB Feb 10, 2021 02:01 PM
Santa Barbara Launches On-Demand Solar Permitting

I would end subsidies for fossil fuels and for alternative energy if it were up to me. And yes, I think fossil fuels are more environmentally friendly than solar and batteries. I would rather have a carbon footprint than a uranium/lithium/cobalt/etc. footprint. And again yes, consideration for the slaves and child laborers who manufacture so many of the products we import in the country is a big factor in the decisions I make. We should all endeavor to buy products made in a manner consistent with our humanitarian and environmental standards.

a-1612996924 Feb 10, 2021 02:42 PM
Santa Barbara Launches On-Demand Solar Permitting

As usual, chip is shilling for big carbon, and ignoring all the impacts.

pstarSR Feb 10, 2021 05:06 PM
Santa Barbara Launches On-Demand Solar Permitting

If you are concerned with cobalt in batteries, get a battery that has iron sulfate instead. not as efficient as the batteries with cobalt. but thats the trade off. being concerned with a small part of the manufacture problem( which is changing), and ignoring the impact of our lifestyles is short sighted.

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