Many small solar companies gave up on their plans to install solar panels on rooftops in Prince William due to complicated regulations.
But Ray Masavage, the owner of CAVU Solar, persisted. He was bothered by the lack of solar panels on houses and believed local officials wanted to improve the situation.
Now, he’s optimistic about a vote by the Board of Supervisors to eliminate fees for new residential solar installations starting September 1. This change could mark a step towards simplifying the bureaucratic process. Other improvements are being considered to make solar permitting easier.
Ray praised Solar United Neighbors and Chesapeake Solar & Storage Association for pushing the county to make permitting simpler. He also mentioned that the county’s website, high fees, and strict reviews have caused problems for solar companies and homeowners.
The county’s slow permit process and high fees were pointed out by Solar United Neighbors, and they encouraged residents to voice their complaints. This pressure led to changes in the county’s leadership and the creation of a group focused on improving solar permitting.
The county is taking steps to improve the situation. They are reducing fees for new solar installations and planning to extend this reduction. They are also making a standardized list of approved solar components and creating a typical plan to speed up reviews.
Additionally, they are considering using a tool called Solar APP+ to standardize the permitting process.
Despite these improvements, some solar companies are still hesitant to return to the county due to past difficulties and costs. However, overall, the changes represent progress toward making solar installation easier and more accessible in Prince William County.