City of Sutter Creek, CA

SUTTER CREEK'S SOLAR ENERGY INFORMATION HUB

Find the latest resources and information available for installing solar power and expanding the solar market in the City of Sutter Creek, whether you're a resident, business, installer or local government agency.

The City is well positioned for solar market growth due to a mix of renewable energy goals and supportive policies. Transitioning to solar power not only provides environmental benefits like enhanced air quality, but it also delivers a host of economic benefits from green job creation to market development. Below, there is a direct link to the City's interactive policy roadmap designed to increase local solar installations by making it easier and more cost-effective to "go solar".

Sutter Creek is named after John Sutter who is known for his association with the California Gold Rush.

Community Profile

25,011 population
33% renewables by 2020
3 square miles

Residential Solar Potential

Upgrade to LEADER plan to display your community's solar potential.

Roadmap

The ASTI team has worked in close coordination with the City to develop a customized, interactive solar roadmap containing guidance on how to transform the local solar market. Each recommendation in the roadmap is supported with relevant reports, case studies, examples, and templates to support local and regional implementation efforts.

These roadmap goals are derived from attributes of successful solar communities nationwide, along with input from industry experts. Each goal represents a step toward making solar easier and more cost effective for all residents within the community. Your specific roadmap has been customized using the attributes that are relevant at the city-level in the local solar market.

Expand each focus area below to show its related goals, and click the 'Take Action' button to access the relevant resources designed to help you achieve these goals.

showPermitting Process

Current Progress:
5 of 15 goals achieved
33%7%
Planned
Local Priority

[P1-CA] (AB2188 Mandate) Use Standard Permit Application Materials Specific to PV Systems(32)

There is a standard building permit application form, but nothing specific to PV currently.

Standard application is available for systems <10kW. Using common permit materials, such as checklists and standard plans, across a region reduces permit submittal errors among contractors.

[P2-CA] (AB2188 Mandate) Make Permit Application Form Available Online(4)

Building permit application forms are available online, though no PV specific forms are currently in use.

If a standard PV application form is adopted per goal [P1], make the form available online in an easily accessible location.

[P3-CA] (AB2188 Mandate) Allow Electronic Submittal of Application Form(1)

Permit application can be submitted online or in-person, or sent via email or regular mail.

[P4] Require only 1 Permit Application Submittal(164)

Single submittal of permit application.

[P5-CA] Post Permit and Inspection Process Information and Fee Schedule Online(40)

Fee schedule and inspection checklist are not available online.

Provide clear written instructions on permitting and inspection processes along with a checklist of required application materials. Also, provide information on permit fee schedule, along with any rebates and incentives. Ideally, there is easy access from a primary menu page.

[P6-CA] (AB2188 Mandate) Streamline Permit Processing Time and Allow Expedited Process for Qualifying Projects(1)

Permit processing time us 6-10 days for residential projects, 11-15 days for commercial projects.

Consider an expedited or over-the-counter permit (OTC) approval process for qualifying PV projects using a standard application form (see goal P1). For all projects, issue or deny permit within 3 business days of submittal for residential and within 5 business days for commercial.

[P7-CA] Base Residential Permit Fee on Actual Cost to Administer(55)

Permit fees average $251-$500.

Permit fee for residential systems is based on cost recovery or a flat fee no more than $500 for systems <15 kW. Larger systems can be $15 for every kilowatt (kW) over 15 kW. Open-ended valuation based fee structures are inconsistent with State law.

[P8-CA] Base Commercial Permit Fee on Actual Cost to Administer(37)

Permit fee structure is not available online.

Permit fee for commercial systems is based on cost recovery or a flat fee no more than $1,000 for systems <50 kW, plus $7 for every kW between 51 kW and 250 kW, plus $5 for every kW over 250 kW. Open-ended valuation based fee structures are inconsistent with State law.

[P9] Minimize Inspection Turnaround Time(147)

Inspection request turnaround time is within 2 days for both residential and commercial projects.

[P10] Offer Convenient Inspection Scheduling(94)

Inspection appointment window given to installer is 2 hours.

[P11] Require only 1 Inspection Visit(82)

Multiple inspection visits are required.

Require only a single permit inspection. If additional inspections are required during installation, conduct in a manner that does not require installer to halt work.

[P12-CA] (AB2188 Mandate) Adopt an Inspection Checklist(13)

No inspection checklist currently in use.

Utilize a standard inspection checklist for PV systems. The checklist serves as a guide for inspectors and installers containing points of emphasis and common issues.

[P13-CA] (AB2188 Mandate) Allow a Structural Exemption for Qualifying Systems(26)

No structural exemption for qualifying systems.

For qualifying residential systems meeting certain criteria, allow an exemption from structural analysis or structural PE stamp requirements.

[P14-CA] Understand New California Solar-Specific Building, Electrical, and Fire Codes (Title 24)(55)

Current knowledge level of staff regarding recent solar standards unknown.

Permitting department understands latest changes to the 2013 California Building, Residential, and Fire Codes that apply to Solar PV installations.

[P15-CA] (AB2188 Mandate) Adopt An Expedited Solar Permitting Ordinance(4)

No existing ordinance to streamline process for qualifying projects.

Create an ordinance to expedite and streamline the permitting process for residential rooftop solar energy systems under 10kW. This ordinance must substantially conform to the recommendations, standard plans and checklists found in the most updated version of the Office of Planning and Research's Solar Permitting Guidebook (OPR Guidebook).

showPlanning & Zoning

Current Progress:
3 of 5 goals achieved
60%
Planned

[Z1] Pursue Protection for Solar Rights and Access(72)

State laws provide limited protection for solar rights and solar access, but no local ordinance.

City currently at best practice at the state-level. Consider creating local ordinances go beyond the CA Solar Rights Act and Solar Shade Control Act, which would protect property owners' right to install solar and ensure their property has unobstructed access to direct sunlight.

[Z2-CA] Develop a Local Ordinance that requires Solar Ready Construction(15)

Local ordinance does not require solar ready construction.

Explore creation of municipal ordinances which require new homes and buildings to be built solar-ready (i.e. solar zone on roof, pre-installed conduits, space for inverter, spare breaker space in electrical panel for solar interconnection).

[Z4-CA] Incorporate Solar Priorities into Comprehensive, Energy or Climate Action Plans(45)

Solar development goals are included in General Plan and Energy Action Plan.

[Z5-CA] Update Local Zoning Standards and Review for Solar Installations(32)

No local standards for solar zoning and review.

[Z6-CA] Update Local Zoning Standards and Review for Solar Installations - Historic and Viewshed Areas(14)

Solar PV projects located within the Historic District must obtain Committee approval before project can proceed.

Ensure the zoning codes and ordinances that govern solar installations in aesthetically sensitive areas do not adversely affect property owners' ability to install solar. Allow staff members to review and approve applications when possible rather than requiring committee or planning commission review. CA Solar Rights Act requires that local governments use an administrative, non-discretionary review process for on-site solar energy systems that do not place restrictions on visual or aesthetic concerns.

showFinancing Options

Current Progress:
0 of 3 goals achieved
0%
Planned

[F5a] Explore Implementation of Local PACE Financing Pilot Program (73)

No implementation of Local PACE financing.

Establish a working group to evaluate the potential of a PACE financing program for clean energy upgrades in the jurisdiction based on national examples by local municipalities.

[F6] Encourage Local Financial Stakeholders to Establish New Solar Loan Programs(63)

Limited knowledge of local solar loan programs.

Encourage local financial institutions to establish loan programs for solar energy systems.

[F7] Promote Availability of Existing Solar Finance Options and Evaluation Tools(37)

Limited knowledge of solar finance options and tools.

Publicize the availability of local solar finance options and solar evaluation tools for potential buyers. This can be done via webinars, marketing materials, or by providing links and information online.

showSolar Market Development

Current Progress:
0 of 4 goals achieved
25%
Planned

[M1] Support Aggregate Procurement Program for Residential Sector(40)

No such programs known to exist locally.

Support the creation of a working group of community leaders and funding providers. This group would evaluate options and determine the most viable approach for aggregating residential solar based on best practices to date.

[M6] Explore Installing Solar at Municipal Facilities, Including Landfill and Water Treatment Facilities(62)

No known projects at these sites currently.

Establish a working group to identify solar feasibility at municipal facilities, including landfill and water treatment sites.

[M7] Publicize Solar Workforce Development Resources and Industry Training Tools(21)

Limited awareness of these resources locally.

Provide online access to training programs and resources for the installer community and potential workforce and organize an outreach and/or training event in order to generate awareness and understanding. Publicize these events, along with external resources/trainings, through various community outreach channels.

[M8] Provide Solar Educational Resources to Constituents(77)

Limited awareness of these resources locally.

Help promote the availability of online tools and resources for the residential, commercial, and municipal solar markets through existing networks.

Resources