Earlier this month I wrote about about legislation that could revolutionize the rooftop solar industry, making it much more accessible to homeowners. The PACE Assessment Protection Act of 2011 (H.R.2599) would allow homeowners to finance a new rooftop solar installation through their property tax assessment, paying for it over time. Another bill worth calling attention to is the 10 Million Solar Rooftops Act of 2011 (S.1108), which would establish competitive grants to encourage municipalities and local utilities to increase distributed solar generation. The aim of the grants would be to streamline local permit processes, and also implement interconnection and net-metering, which would ultimately allow a homeowner to sell excess renewable energy generated by rooftop solar panels back to the grid.
Local permitting has complicated the deployment of distributed generation in some areas. For example, a Sierra Club study in Southern California found that some cities charged permit fees that were unreasonable and exceeded the actual cost of administering them. Cities that had lower permit fees tend to attract more rooftop solar installations (naturally!).
You can sign into POPVOX and express your support for the legislation. If you register with the site, you can even craft a letter for your Senators.