Santa Barbara Launches On-Demand Solar Permitting

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:

What do you think?


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  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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).

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