Standing atop a solar-panel-covered rooftop of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 569 union hall, mayoral candidate Steve Francis today promised he would eliminate the city’s fees for installing solar panels if elected.

The city’s permits cost $194 for each solar installation, Francis said. He acknowledged that eliminating the fee would reduce city revenues, but said cutting the $194 charge (on systems that can cost $10,000 or more) “could create thousands of jobs.”

He promised to offset the lost revenue by tapping the Centre City Development Corp.’s tax revenues. He took that a step further, suggesting CCDC, the city’s downtown redevelopment arm, should be eliminated.

“I’m not sure we still need the CCDC,” Francis said. “It’s long overdue for a revamp.”

Francis added another green promise to his campaign: He said he would propose a requirement for solar panels to be installed on all new city developments, with the aim of getting 20 to 25 percent of the region’s power from the sun within 10 years. He didn’t offer specifics, such as the minimum building size that would trigger the requirement or the number of solar panels or percentage of roof coverage that would be required.


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