The Permit Reich

It’s a well-known fact that European economies sag under the burden of armies of indolent paper-pushing bureaucrats, enforcing kafkaesque regulations when they are not taking bribes to ignore them. (Not too far off the mark for Spain, Italy, and Greece.)

So, following the lamentable tale to which I drew your attention ten days ago illustrating the low German productivity that inevitably flows from short working hours and comprehensive social insurance, I feel obliged to bring up another tragic case:

There’s an article in the most recent issue of PHOTON describing a German family that got a 4.6 kW PV array installed and interconnected to their roof 8 days after calling a solar installer for the first time. The homeowner had a proposal from the installer within 8 hours. The installer called the utility the morning of the installation to request an interconnect that afternoon. The installer called at 10 am, the utility came and installed 2 new meters and approved the interconnect at 2:37 pm – the same day. The online registration of the PV system with Federal Grid agency and approval of the feed-in tariff took 5 minutes.

(I failed to locate the article in the Photon International website, which only lists contents for the current issue of the print magazine; I suppose it’s in the May or June one.)

Economies of scale, skilled labour, good IT systems, sure. But also this:

Germany does not have permitting for installing solar panels on residential rooftops.

Ah, but you can’t have delinquents signalling to alien spaceships with weird black antennae, or alarming the Stepford citizenry with kn*ck*rs hung out to dry in gardens and shockingly visible from the public highway, can you?

PS: the BSW German index for the average total cost per watt of installed rooftop solar PV systems up to 100kw now stands at €1.776, or $2.18. Typical US prices are double.


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