Today's Law As Amended

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AB-1414 Solar energy systems: permits.(2017-2018)



SECTION 1.

 Section 801.5 of the Civil Code is amended to read:

801.5.
 (a) The right of receiving sunlight as specified in subdivision 18 of Section 801 shall be referred to as a solar easement. “Solar easement” means the right of receiving sunlight across real property of another for any solar energy system.
As used in this section, “solar energy system” means either of the following:
(1) Any solar collector or other solar energy device whose primary purpose is to provide for the collection, storage, and distribution of solar energy for space heating, space cooling, electric generation, or water heating.
(2) A structural design feature of a building, including either of the following:
(A) Any design feature whose primary purpose is to provide for the collection, storage, and distribution of solar energy for electricity generation, space heating or cooling, or for water heating.
(B) Any photovoltaic device or technology that is integrated into a building, including, but not limited to, photovoltaic windows, siding, and roofing shingles or tiles.
(b) Any instrument creating a solar easement shall include, at a minimum, all of the following:
(1) A description of the dimensions of the easement expressed in measurable terms, such as vertical or horizontal angles measured in degrees, or the hours of the day on specified dates during which direct sunlight to a specified surface of a solar collector, device, or structural design feature may not be obstructed, or a combination of these descriptions.
(2) The restrictions placed upon vegetation, structures, and other objects that would impair or obstruct the passage of sunlight through the easement.
(3) The terms or conditions, if any, under which the easement may be revised or terminated.

SEC. 2.

 The heading of Chapter 7.5 (commencing with Section 66015) of Division 1 of Title 7 of the Government Code is amended to read:

CHAPTER  7.5. Fees for Solar Energy Systems

SEC. 3.

 Section 66015 of the Government Code is amended to read:

66015.
 (a) For a residential solar energy system:
(1) A city, county, city and county, or charter city shall not charge a residential permit fee that exceeds the estimated reasonable cost of providing the service for which the fee is charged. Except as provided in paragraph (2), for photovoltaic systems, that fee shall not exceed four hundred fifty dollars ($450) plus fifteen dollars ($15) per kilowatt for each kilowatt above 15kW. Except as provided in paragraph (2), for thermal systems, that fee shall not exceed four hundred fifty dollars ($450) plus fifteen dollars ($15) per kilowatt thermal for each kilowatt thermal above 10kWth.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a city, county, city and county, or charter city may charge a residential permit fee for a solar energy system that exceeds the fees specified in paragraph (1) if the city, county, city and county, or charter city, as part of a written finding and an adopted resolution or ordinance, provides substantial evidence of the reasonable cost to issue the permit.
(b) For a commercial solar energy system:
(1) A city, county, city and county, or charter city shall not charge a commercial permit fee that exceeds the estimated reasonable cost of providing the service for which the fee is charged. Except as provided in paragraph (2), for photovoltaic systems, the fee shall not exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) for systems up to 50kW plus seven dollars ($7) per kilowatt for each kilowatt between 51kW and 250kW, plus five dollars ($5) per kilowatt for each kilowatt above 250kW. Except as provided in paragraph (2), for thermal systems, the fee shall not exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) for systems up to 30kWth, plus seven dollars ($7) per kilowatt thermal for each kilowatt thermal between 30kWth and 260kWth, plus five dollars ($5) per kilowatt thermal for each kilowatt thermal above 260kWth.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a city, county, city and county, or charter city may charge a commercial permit fee for a solar energy system that exceeds the applicable fee specified in paragraph (1) incurred in connection with producing a written finding and adopting an ordinance or resolution pursuant to subdivision (a) or (b).
(e) For purposes of this section, “residential permit fee” means the sum of all charges levied by a city, county, city and county, or charter city in connection with the application for a solar energy system.
(f) For purposes of this section, “solar energy system” has the same meaning as defined in Section 801.5 of the Civil Code.
(g) It is the intent of the Legislature that a city, county, city and county, or charter city that meets the obligations of subdivisions (a) and (b) receive priority access to state funds for the purposes of distributed energy generation planning, permitting, training, or implementation.
(h) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2025, and as of that date is repealed.
SEC. 4.
 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because a local agency or school district has the authority to levy service charges, fees, or assessments sufficient to pay for the program or level of service mandated by this act, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code.