Solar Fees Vary Vastly in East Bay

Business owners wanting to go solar in the East Bay will find an array of fees and costs, depending on where they're located, according to the Contra Costa Times.

In Contra Costa county, the same solar-panel project can range from $240 to $20,000, the survey found. The range is narrower in Alameda County.

Residential fees are much lower and more consistent -- possibly because of studies like the one cited above.

Alameda County's most expensive commercial fees were in Union City, at $9,930 -- about half of the highest in Contra Costa. The lowest fees were in Berkeley, at a cool $300.

State law states cities can charge only their costs to process permits. So the survey was based on a 131-kilowatt project, typical for a grocery store. The cost was estimated at $1,300 to permit (and no more than $2,500).

So, fees more than $18,000 are "ten times higher than cost recovery," according to survey author Kurt Newick.

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