Solar system fees

Dear Editor:Of a dozen cities in southeast L.A. County, the city of Downey charges the most for a permit to install photo-voltaic solar systems ($1,162), according to a survey by the Sierra Club and a story which ran last week in the Long Beach Press-Telegram. In addition to being one of the highest fees charged by local government to install PV solar systems, Downey's method to calculate the fee is against the law established to promote the installation of renewable energy sources, according to the Sierra Club. Downey's vaunted "green task force," created by Mayor Mario Guerra to study ways the city can save energy, should start with an investigation of the outrageous permit fee the Building Department is exploiting from property owners seeking to "go green" themselves by installing PV solar systems. The fee will exceed the savings from this renewable technology for several years, and is a disincentive to install such systems, according to the Sierra Club study. It seems the only thing that is renewable in the city of Downey is the City Council's quest for revenue from permit and other so-called fees. Such "fees" are really taxes in disguise, which will kill off yet another industry in our city in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression. The mayor talks about the savings the city hopes to reap from the 'green' measures to be recommended by his task force. The only 'green' Guerra is interested in is the money collected from property and business owners in our city in the PV solar system permit fee and hundreds of others on the city's fee schedule. If Guerra is really interested in promoting green technology, he and other members of the Council should direct the Building Department to cut the permit fee for PV solar systems to zero. Then start on the others. - Brian Heyman, Downey

********** Published: July 10, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 12