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Local Government Commission

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Currents

An Energy Newsletter for Local Governments

All of Sacramento County Now "Fee Free" for Solar Permits

For Folsom residents, installing money-saving, renewable energy solar systems just got more affordable thanks to a new partnership between the City of Folsom and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD).

Last night, the Folsom City Council passed a resolution that will waive the permit fee for a residential solar installation, and agreed that city staff will review the application in one day, use a standardized application packet, and conduct the post-installation inspection within 24 hours.

The Folsom-SMUD partnership is landmark as it means that the permit fee has been waived throughout Sacramento County, for all residents - whether they live in a city or the unincorporated portion of the county. SMUD undertook the effort in early 2007 to gain partnerships with all six city councils and the county board of supervisors. The partnerships are three-year pilot programs that run through 2009.

SMUD also works directly with residential customers by providing financial incentives to help reduce the cost of solar electric systems by as much as 25 percent. In addition, the homeowner is eligible for a $2,000 federal tax credit. In combination with energy efficiency practices and equipment, owners of solar-powered homes can see drastic reductions and even credits on their SMUD bills.

SMUD has installed enough solar power in its service territory to power the equivalent of 9,000 average sized homes. Solar power units have been installed on residential, commercial and government buildings and in larger, utility-scale arrays. Recently SMUD has partnered with local homebuilders to construct Solar Smart homes that combine the latest energy efficiency features with solar power.

SMUD has been a pioneer in energy efficiency and renewable energy for over 25 years creating nationally recognized energy efficiency programs in the 1970s and building one of the world's first solar plants in the 1980s. Since then, SMUD's solar programs for residential and commercial customers have been viewed as industry leaders. SMUD was one of the first utilities to establish renewable energy goals, with plans to have 20 percent of its energy coming from renewables by 2011. SMUD has provided electricity to the greater Sacramento area for more than 60 years. For more information about SMUD solar programs, visit smud.org.

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