The Outlook for Solar: Q&A With Borrego Solar CEO Mike Hall

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the electrical and structural portions of the system are not permitted at the same time. The “Building Permit” here [in Massachusetts] is only for the structure. The electrical permit is pulled by the electrical contractor who is doing the work, normally with just an application.

We don’t think there are really any areas that are better than the others. With some cities and towns the process does take a little longer, but it’s usually to bring the inspector further up to speed on PV, which is helpful in the long run.

The permitting process in Boston is pretty similar to the rest of the New England. Boston is obviously larger than most cities and towns in New England, therefore the building inspectors probably have more exposure to photovoltaic systems there. But that’s not to say that a small town in western Massachusetts doesn’t have just as much experience. Permitting is typically streamlined. It only takes longer if the inspector is curious of how a system works.

Borrego Solar Installation Atop Stone BreweryWe have developed a standard “permit set” that includes adequate information about the site, the building, method to attach or ballast the racking system and the structural calculations performed on the existing structure. On the electrical side, we find that more often than not it’s the first permit submittal for a PV system that the inspectors have come across. Other than references found in the National Electrical Code (NEC), they don’t have a vast knowledge of PV systems. Generally, most building inspectors have plenty of questions and are eager for knowledge, which of course we are happy to provide. There are … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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