Pima County addressing solar power red tape

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Back and forth is how it's been between residents looking to buy solar panels for their homes and Pima County.

Thursday, thanks to a new program, officials are hoping going green will come with less red tape.

Paper work and red tape has been a problem for Pima County and solar panel installers all over.

"As solar systems are virtually individually designed, it was hard to do," said Ric Hicks from the Pima County Development Services.

What was hard to do was fill out the application for a solar panel system on your house.

If anything was wrong or figures were in the wrong place, Pima County would send the application back to be corrected.   Sometimes even that wouldn't fix some of the problems.

"We came up with an idea that we could do the plan review. Basically you build it like this but here's all the variables you can put into it," said Hicks.

Solar companies across the city are excited about the new on-line spread sheet because of all the different requirements for installation in different jurisdictions around Pima County.

"Each jurisdiction, City of Tucson, Pima County, Sahuarita, Marana, Oro Valley we all have our own requirements for submittal process," said Hicks.

"It's an opportunity for other jurisdictions in the area to use the same model and if that happens, the consistency that brings makes all the installers lives much easier," said Kevin Koch with Technicians for Sustainability.

Koch says the implementation will bring the cost of solar down, will save installers time and put money back in the consumer's wallets.

"There's no question that the lower the effective cost to a customer, the more wide spread adoption it will get," said Koch.