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Solar, generator permits on the rise in McKinney after 2021 winter storm

Permits for solar panels have been steadily on the rise since 2020.

McKinney residents are turning to alternative energy sources to power their residential properties after the February 2021 winter storm. To install a generator or solar panel on a residence, a permit has to be filed with the city.

Permits for generators and solar panels have significantly increased between 2020 and 2021. City data shows the number of permits filed for generators have increased nearly tenfold between 2020 and 2021 directly following the storm that left 246 dead, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Between January and June of this year, the city of McKinney issued 84 generator permits, putting them on track to issue a record-breaking number of permits if the trend continues for the second half of the year.

“We did see a spike in demand for generators after the 2021 snowstorm,” McKinney Chief Building Official Suzanne Arnold said. “However, the wave in permits was not immediate. The sudden upswing in demand made generators hard to come by.”

Arnold also noted that generator installation can be a complex task because it involves both electric and gas installation. The installation often requires the gas services to be upsized to serve the increased demand.

While demand for generators was sudden, the increase in permits for solar panels has been a gradual climb. Last year saw more than 12 times the number of permits for solar panels filed in 2016.

"Long story short, people are choosing to stay in their homes longer, and while doing so they’re also investing in improvements," McKinney's Development Services Director Michael Quint said in the city's 2022 annual development report.

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