by Billy Ball
Thanks to a change in town guidelines, obtaining permission to install some solar panels in Hillsborough could now take about three days and $10, town officials say.
Members of the town's Historic District Commission approved a change classifying solar panel installations as "minor work" if they cannot be seen from the street. The revision allows town staff to review and approve the applications, rather than requiring approval from the commission.
Commission approval could take one to two months to complete. Town staff can do it in about three days, along with a $10 fee.
“It is perfectly in keeping with the need to preserve the character of the Historic District while promoting alternative energy in the age of climate change,” said Hillsborough Town Commissioner Jenn Weaver in a release. “Streamlining the solar panel approval process is a way the town can support alternative energy, and I’m so grateful to our staff and HDC volunteers for having the wisdom to come up with this solution.”
Town leaders said the change followed more than two dozen requests to install solar panels in the town after last year's Solarize Hillsborough program, a local campaign aimed at incentivizing solar panels by offering group discounts on installations.