SAN DIEGO — San Diego has launched a new instant permit program for residential solar projects, city officials announced on Tuesday.
The program, which is mandated by a state bill, will allow residents to apply for solar and battery storage building permits for their home online and instantly receive approved paperwork, bypassing city review of their installation plans.
San Diego officials say the new permit program builds on other initiatives geared towards reduce processing times for applications to help the city meet its goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2035.
“This is just the latest in a series of moves we’re making to streamline our permitting process so we can get things done faster,” Mayor Todd Gloria said in a release. “More and more San Diegans are wanting to put rooftop solar on their homes, and I’m thrilled that the City of San Diego is now helping them accomplish this by granting them instant permit approval for installation.”
Qualifying projects include the installation of solar photovoltaic or battery storage units smaller than 38.4 kilowatts for single-family homes and duplexes, according to city officials. Those interested in the program can visit the city’s Development Services Department website.
The launch of the program comes under two months before the state deadline for cities and counties to begin issuing permits for these projects in real time, established in a state senate bill that passed last year.
SB 379, or the Solar Access Act, required most municipalities to adopt SolarAPP+, an automated online permitting platform for standard solar and storage systems. The City of San Diego’s deadline for compliance is Sept. 30.
Prior to the bill, city officials estimate the process to apply and obtain a permit took an average of seven to 10 days.
“DSD handles about 12,000 applications for photovoltaic permits every year,” DSD Director Elyse Lowe said in a release. “Customers will love the expanded threshold for automatic permits for solar and battery installations in homes. This will save customers time and increase staff productivity overall with the new automated permit process.”
The department was also directed by Gloria to speed processing times for other building permits, including the expansion of the “No-Plan Building Permit” program to include kitchen and bathroom remodels as well as door and window replacements.