Nassau/Suffolk Counties & LIPA Launch Solar Permit Initiative

Advancing Long Island’s position as a national leader in solar energy, the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) and the Nassau and Suffolk County Planning Commissions announced the launch of a new unified solar permitting process as part of the Long Island Unified Solar Permitting Initiative (LIUSPI).

This ground-breaking solar initiative emanated from a working collaborative of stakeholders and municipal officials from across Long Island to develop a model process that could be used by all municipalities throughout Long Island to effectively and uniformly handle the application for and approval of residential solar electric and solar hot water systems in each respective jurisdiction.  This regional collaboration, which includes government officials, industry representatives, renewable energy advocates and the Island’s utility as partners, is among the first effort of its kind in the country.

“The Suffolk County Planning Commission has worked to bring together Suffolk’s municipalities and stakeholders to address issues that are of regional importance across Suffolk County,” said David Calone, Chairman of the Suffolk County Planning Commission.  “In this case, we are particularly pleased to partner for the first time with our colleagues at the Nassau County Planning Commission to create this process to streamline the solar permitting process. We also appreciate the support of LIPA in making possible this effort to accelerate solar installations across Long Island.”

Currently, the solar installation approval process for Long Island has a different set of regulations for each town and village, which creates confusion, delays and extra costs for many Long Islanders wishing to install photovoltaic systems on their homes with the hopes of improving the environment and lowering their energy bills. This new permitting process, which will cover more than 80% of residential solar systems, will reduce costs, save time, and improve public safety.

The Long Island Unified Solar Permitting Initiative is expected to achieve success similar to the advancement and implementation of Energy Star building codes which have been successfully adopted by 10 of Long Island’s 13 towns resulting in the construction of over 1,000 new homes. These homes have proven to be at least 30% more energy-efficient than those homes constructed using the old codes.

In addition to co-authoring the new solar code, the Long Island Power Authority has committed to providing implementation assistance of $15,000 to each township and $5,000 to each of the first ten villages in Nassau and in Suffolk that adopts the authorizing legislation sufficient to accomplish the five key components of the LIUSPI plan by December 31, 2011.

“Eliminating the red tape from green energy will allow our customers to have a better experience during the permitting and installation process,” said LIPA Chief Operating Officer Michael D Hervey.  “In addition, I expect LIUSPI to act as a catalyst to encourage more homeowners to take advantage of LIPA’s solar programs and save money, while at the same time helping to foster new jobs in the local solar market.”


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