Today's Law As Amended


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SB-617 Residential solar energy systems: permitting.(2021-2022)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.

 Section 65850.52 is added to the Government Code, to read:

65850.52.
 (a) For purposes of this section:
(1) “Energy Commission” means the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission.
(2) “Energy storage system” means commercially available technology, located behind a customer’s utility meter, that is capable of absorbing electricity generated from a colocated electricity generator or from the electric grid, storing it for a period of time, and thereafter discharging it to meet the energy or power needs of the host customer or for export.
(3) “Solar energy system” means any configuration of solar energy devices that collects and distributes solar energy for the purpose of generating electricity and that has a single interconnection with the electric utility transmission or distribution network.
(4) “SolarAPP” means the most recent version of a web-based portal, developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, United States Department of Energy, that automates plan review, produces code-compliant approvals, and issues permits for solar energy systems and energy storage systems paired with solar energy systems.
(b) Pursuant to the compliance schedule in subdivision (d), a city, county, or city and county, in consultation with the local fire department, district, or authority shall implement an online, automated permitting platform, such as SolarAPP, that verifies code compliance and issues permits in real time to a licensed contractor for a solar energy system that is no larger than 38.4 kilowatts alternating current nameplate rating and an energy storage system paired with a solar energy system that is no larger than 38.4 kilowatts alternating current nameplate rating, and is consistent with the system parameters and configurations, including an inspection checklist, of SolarAPP. Consistent with the same compliance schedule, a city, county, or city and county shall amend its ordinance adopted pursuant to subdivision (g) of Section 65850.5 to authorize a residential solar energy system and an energy storage system to use the online, automated permitting platform.
(c) (1) A county with a population of less than 150,000, and all cities within a county with a population of less than 150,000, are exempt from subdivision (b).
(2) A city with a population of 50,000 or less that is not exempt pursuant to paragraph (1) shall satisfy the requirements of subdivision (b) no later than September 30, 2023.
(3) A city, county, or city and county with a population of greater than 50,000 that is not exempt pursuant to paragraph (1) shall satisfy the requirements of subdivision (b) no later than September 30, 2022.
(d) Upon provision of sufficient funding, the Energy Commission may provide technical assistance and grant funding to city, county, or city and county, in order to support the implementation of online, automated permitting for a solar energy system and an energy storage system paired with a solar energy system and for compliance with the requirements of subdivision (b) in a timely manner.
(1) The Energy Commission shall develop grant guidelines and other requirements in a public process by May 1, 2022, and make applications available no later than July 1, 2022.
(2) The Energy Commission shall prioritize processing grant applications from local jurisdictions serving low-income communities, disadvantaged communities as defined by the California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool, also known as CalEnviroScreen 3.0, or those containing high fire-threat districts as defined in subdivision (h) of Section 3280 of the Public Utilities Code.
(e) A city, county, city and county, or a fire department, district, or authority shall report to the Energy Commission when it is in compliance with subdivision (b).
(f) The Energy Commission shall set guidelines for cities and counties to report to the commission on the number of permits issued for solar energy systems and an energy storage system paired with a solar energy system and the relevant characteristics of those systems. A city, county, or city and county shall report annually to the Energy Commission pursuant to those guidelines within a year of implementing the automated solar permitting system pursuant to subdivision (b).
(g) (1) A city, county, or city and county that is not in compliance with Section 65850.5 or 66015 is not eligible to receive the funding available pursuant to subdivision (d). A city, county, or city and county shall self-certify its compliance with Section 65850.5 or 66015 when applying for funds from a state-sponsored or state-administered grant or loan program.
(2) A city, county, or city and county that is not in compliance with subdivision (b) is not eligible to receive funds from a state-sponsored or state-administered solar or energy storage grant or loan program, other than the funding available in subdivision (d). A city, county, or city and county shall certify its compliance with the requirements of subdivision (b) when applying for funds from a state-sponsored or state-administered grant or loan program.
(h) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit or otherwise affect the generator interconnection requirements and approval process for a local publicly owned electric utility, as defined in Section 224.3 of the Public Utilities Code, or an electrical corporation, as defined in Section 218 of the Public Utilities Code.
(i) Nothing in this section shall be construed to increase or otherwise affect the liability of a local agency pertaining to a solar energy system or an energy storage system paired with a solar energy system installed pursuant to this section.
SEC. 2.
 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution for certain costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district because, in that regard, this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.
However, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains other costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.