March 02, 2018

Credit: Nati Harnik / AP Images

Let’s say you want to install some solar panels on your home. For the average homeowner, that will set you back around $16,000, according to Andrew Birch, former CEO of the solar installation company Sungevity. In Australia, you would pay about $7,000. And it’s not just Australia where it’s cheaper. Birch says that the US is an outlier when it comes to how much solar installation costs the regular consumer. Why? Birch explains.

Three Takeaways

  • A complicated permitting process and burdensome regulations make installing solar panels in the United States tricky, drawn-out, and expensive, according to Birch. This is a far cry from places like Germany, where you can fill out a straightforward form online.
  • And Birch points out that much of the regulation in the U.S. is not making us safer or our solar panels more efficient. There have been millions of solar installations across Europe and Australia with no noticeable difference in quality or safety. 
  • So if our regulations aren’t actually helping consumers, just raising prices… why exactly are they there? Birch believes that it’s a lack of coordination on the part of government and the energy industry. It’s a legacy of decades of incremental growth, meaning that a myriad of pointless local regulations remain on the books.

More Reading:

Andrew Birch, Australia, solar panels, Sungevity

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