Commissioner Burns Announces Implementation of Legislation Encouraging Solar Panel Use

Philadelphia, January 19, 2012 – The Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) has implemented two ordinances designed to encourage the use of solar panels systems in Philadelphia. Sponsored by Councilman Jim Kenney, the two ordinances amend the Philadelphia Building Construction and Occupancy Code to greatly reduce the costs of securing both electrical permits and building permits for solar panel systems (also known as photovoltaic systems).

Licenses and Inspections Commissioner Fran Burns stated, “These changes are not only part of the ongoing reform and focus on supporting business development, but also a step towards ensuring a sustainable and competitive future for Philadelphia and its residents. I am excited to support this energy option since solar panel systems decrease dependence on fossil fuels and reduce the risks of rising energy costs in the long-run.”

Commenting, Councilman Jim Kenney said, “Today we move Philadelphia in the right direction, towards a more sustainable and greener future, while also encouraging economic development and job creation. As we continue down this green path, we must be open to further innovation and development of cleaner fuel sources.”

Passed by Council and signed into law by Mayor Nutter in the 2011 Term, Bills 110533 and 110829 amend the Code to exclude the costs of solar panels and inverters in calculating electrical permit and building permit fees when a photovoltaic system is installed.

In 2009, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability released the landmark Greenworks report, setting a variety of sustainability goals, including a key target of purchasing and generating 20 percent of electricity used in Philadelphia from alternative energy sources. The passage and implementation of these code amendments are important steps towards meeting the vision of Greenworks — to make Philadelphia the Greenest City in the United States.

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