Past Project Related to Governance:
Explaining jurisdictional compliance with California’s top-down streamlined solar permitting law (AB 2188)
2019, Margaret Taylor, K. Sydny Fujita, Jingjing Zhang, Mustapha Harb, James Tamerius, Michelle Jones, and Sarah Price
In the U.S., the process by which residential rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system installations are permitted and inspected by an “authority having jurisdiction” (AHJ) varies across AHJs. As the U.S. has roughly 23,000 AHJs with varying degrees of local autonomy, improving the cross-jurisdictional consistency of permitting and inspection is not a straightforward task. One promising approach is a “top-down” streamlined solar permitting (SSP) mandate by U.S. States to their AHJs. This study set out to understand the factors associated with the likelihood that an AHJ either did or did not comply with California’s top-down streamlined solar permitting law, AB2188, and then to consider how these factors might be relevant to the future prospects of top-down SSP outside of California. This report provides background material on AB2188 and tests five hypotheses about the factors that affect the likelihood that an AHJ will comply or not comply with AB2188, as developed from the policy diffusion literature and background knowledge on AB2188 and its implementation. We find that AHJs are more likely to comply with AB2188 if their neighboring AHJs comply, if they have substantial resources to invest in their administrative systems, and if their leading installer has high market share and works in many AHJs; we find that AHJs are less likely to comply if their leading installer has high market share and works in only a few AHJs. We provide a proof-of-concept of projecting the supported hypotheses onto other states using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Tracking the Sun, and individual state databases on residential PV installations.
Understanding streamlined solar permitting practices: A Primer
2019, Margaret Taylor
A significant “soft cost” barrier to the growth of the residential solar PV market is the length of time and cross-jurisdictional inconsistency associated with the process by which PV system installations are built according to code, permitted by the local building department, and interconnected to the grid. This primer introduces the current landscape of U.S. “streamlined solar permitting” (SSP) practices. To date, SSP reforms have taken different shapes in different “authorities having jurisdiction” (AHJs), and have been unevenly adopted across the country. To provide context for understanding the delays associated with the permitting, inspection, and interconnection process, it starts by reviewing the process by which a rooftop PV system is built to code and integrated into the U.S. electrical grid. Subsequent sections discuss important aspects of cross-jurisdictional inconsistency in this process, namely: the spatial distribution of building codes and standards; AHJ implementation issues; and utility interconnection implementation issues. The final substantive section of this document provides an overview of major SSP reforms discussed in the literature.
Accounting for Tech Change in Regulatory Impact Analyses: The Learning Curve Technique
2013, Margaret Taylor and K. Sydny Fujita
There are a number of indications in the literature that ignoring technological change is an important explanatory factor underlying the often-observed tendency for regulatory impact assessments to seriously over-estimate the costs of compliance with new environmental, health, safety, and energy efficiency regulations. In energy efficiency regulation for appliances and other products, the Department of Energy (DOE) has applied a whole-product learning curve-based price adjustment approach since 2011. This report: (1) provides an overview of some of the major findings of the academic literature on learning curves in order to inform an assessment of a “best” approach to a learning curve-based regulatory impact assessment cost adjustment technique; (2) describes the Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (EPA-NHTSA) and DOE approaches to this technique; and (3) assesses these approaches against the criteria of alignment with economic theory and of administrative sustainability (i.e., fit with existing laws and institutional arrangements, including standard models and relationships between regulators and regulated industries). We also provide a first-order analysis of the prediction accuracy of the learning curve technique.