Chicago launches fast-track solar energy permitting

The city of Chicago and West Monroe Partners are launching the Chicago Solar Express, a streamlined permitting, zoning and interconnection process for residents and developers to install solar on residential and commercial projects.

The program is expected to cut wait times for solar permits for small projects from 30 days to one, cut fees from $375 to $275 and simplify and streamline key processes. It was funded with help from a $750,000 SunShot grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The city will begin an expedited permitting process where qualifying projects can receive same-day permit approval at reduced fees. The city’s Department of Buildings published new guidelines, outlining steps for general contractors to follow for designing both small and large systems to city standards.

“The city of Chicago continues to take action and lead the way in solar innovation,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “The Chicago Solar Express will make it easier for residents and developers to make long term investments that will improve the performance of their buildings while creating a more sustainable environment for the residents of Chicago.”

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