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Lathrop encouraging solar panels
solar photo copy
A residential solar panel installation. - photo by Photo Contributed

Want to save some money by throwing some solar panels on the roof and letting nature cut into your PG&E bill?

That’s now a much easier process thanks to a streamlined permitting process approved last week by the Lathrop City Council – adhering to a California state mandate passed to encourage people to take advantage of energy-production advancements in recent years.

The ordinance introduces text that describes the streamlined process for individual residents looking to install small rooftop units that can drastically reduce or even eliminate a home’s monthly energy bill depending on the size and efficiency.

Lathrop itself wrapped up a three-year-long process last month by approving a contract with Borrega Solar that will outfit the majority of the city’s buildings with solar units in exchange for a capped energy rate that is expected to save the city millions of dollars over the 25-year-long lease.

Now that California has stamped the solar permitting process, individual residents will be able to quickly and efficiently utilize services provided by independent companies – even going so far as to limit covenants and restrictions that neighborhood homeowner associations can impose – through long-term leases and outright purchases of units to offset typical energy prices that are expected to rise over the course of the next two decades.

The state bill places restrictions on local governments – preventing them from using municipal codes to eliminate standard homeowner usage – and Lathrop’s addition readies a checklist that an individual homeowner can utilize in preparation for the expedited permitting process.

Last week’s passing of the ordinance continued an item that was previously before the council and comes just one month after a reworked Borrego Solar contact was before the council for consideration.

Previous iterations of the contract had the city’s largest buildings utilizing shaded aerial mounts at Lathrop City Hall and took the Lathrop Community Center off of the list of the proposed sites.