The self-described socialist senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, is not someone I agree with that often, but he's onto something here, at least in recognizing a problem, if not necessarily the solution: "One report said obstacles to acquiring local permits add up to $2,500 to the cost of a typical residential solar installation. The Department of Energy also identified local permitting costs as an obstacle to further lowering solar energy costs." Senator Sanders's solution is for the federal government to spend tens of millions of dollars helping the local governments simplify their permitting processes. It seems to me that if simplicity is the goal, adding a federal grant application to the mix isn't going to help. But it's nice, nonetheless, to see someone on the left recognize regulation as an obstacle.