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An effort to lower some of the hurdles to rooftop solar power

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Going green can be pricey when installing solar panels on a home or business. And even though big-box, all-inclusive solar-system providers like SolarCity have developed innovative leasing options to incentivize customers, a host of local- and state-government fees on the installations don’t help matters. There are state, county and municipal fees for building permits, application reviews and plan reviews for solar systems.

Current law limits those fees, but the limits are set to expire next year. State Sen. Bob Gardner of Colorado Springs and Andy Kerr of Lakewood — who as members of the lower chamber in 2011 helped pass some of the original limits — now propose to extend them. Their Senate Bill 179, approved Thursday by the Senate Finance Committee, would extend to 2025 all existing laws that limit the amount of permit, plan review, or other fees that counties, municipalities, or the state may charge for installing solar energy devices or systems.

Said the Republican Gardner in a press statement released by the Senate GOP:

“I am always cautious about government subsidizing programs or technologies, however, in this instance, government is penalizing Coloradans and small businesses,” said Gardner. “That cannot continue. Removing fees and penalties for consumers, allowing the free market to flourish, and encouraging a truly all-of-the-above energy policy, is an example of the good economic stewardship with which the taxpayers have charged us as elected officials.”

SB 179 now moves to the Appropriations Committee.

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