What Can Fremont Do to be Friendlier to Solar Companies?

Someone posted this question on my Facebook page. I thought I’d post it here as well.

Q.Vinnie, So you say “bring green money to Fremont Residences”. What is your stand on bringing more options to Fremont Reisdence and area cities, Solar systems. The City of Fremont can become another Green City for California. I would like to hear your ideas and what action you would like to see the City Of fremont go forward with.

A. Thanks for your post. I am a strong environmentalist and would love to see the use of solar increase in our commercial, residential and government buildings. The benefits of solar power are well-known. Solar installations provide well-paying jobs and would reduce the amount spent on power allowing people to spend on other things. The benefits to our environment should be obvious to all.

There are a number of things that a city municipality can do to promote solar. First, as I mention in my position paper on making Fremont greener , the city could work to roll the costs of solar systems into their property taxes. There are companies such as Renewable Funding that handle all of the financing aspects for cities. These financing solutions tackle the problem of the large up front costs of a solar installation.

Secondly, the city could provide very clear instructions on the permitting process so that solar installers know exactly what their requirements will be. The city is known to have a difficult permitting process which discourages contractors from working with Fremont. We need to change that.

Finally, I acutally think a reduction in the cost of filing permits could be reduced in the case of solar installation. In general, I’m not a fan of reducing fees as the City obviously needs the money. But in the case of solar installation one could argue that there’s a financial benefit to the City from these. By making the process easier, solar installers will work to bring more of their business to Fremont. Of course, by streamlining the process we can process more permits offsetting the discount.

I love the idea of Fremont being a ‘Green City’ and would work to make this happen. We need action on this issue not lip service.

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