The Oakland Tribune has an editorial on the inequitable fees charged for commercial solar installation permits by city governments in Contra Costa and Alameda counties. The differences can be an order of magnitude between cities. The Sierra Club, which studied the different fees, found a range of $1,500 to $2,500 would cover the costs of the the permitting process. Yet, some cities in the Bay Area are charging up to ten times as much.

Commercial buildings are a huge source of electricity demand. It makes no sense to penalize their owners for trying to find renewable alternatives. The article points out that these fees were probably levied as some sort of income generating scheme for the cities involved, but this is short-sighted. On a local level, they are inhibiting the creation of jobs and the diversification of the power grid. On a global level, of course, they are effectively encouraging increased resource consumption and carbon emissions.