Obtaining a permit for solar panels isn’t as simple as a trip down to City Hall. You still have to comply with laws and permit requirements for installing solar panels. There are various things to consider, including local, state, or federal regulations as well as those involving electrical contractors.
Each local municipality and state will have their own requirements for solar permits. Most local jurisdictions will base their building and electrical inspections on The National Electrical Code’s Article 690.
Getting a permit is a tricky process, but it doesn’t have to be. Here is a basic step-by-step process for getting a permit for solar panels.
Getting Your Permit for Solar Panels: Step-By-Step
Make sure you’re licensed in the state or jurisdiction where the work will be done
A number of states now require that you’re licensed to perform solar installations. For those that don’t, local governments may have their own licensing requirements. Be sure to check first.
Contact the jurisdictions for their permitting requirements
Every jurisdiction has their own process for your permit for solar panels. This is cited as the main reason why permitting issues have been the main barrier to increased PV installations.
You should always check what that particular municipality requires. It’s a good idea to research the local ordinances before you begin the project.
In some instances, some may not require a permit to be pulled. And if it’s applicable, some cities may offer an expedited permit process for same-day permit approvals for small-scale PV installations.
These expedited permit processes let you obtain your permit quick and easily. However, it generally applies only to PV systems of less than 10-15 kW maximum power output. The difference between this small project and larger ones is the inability of small projects to absorb engineering review costs. The main purpose of the expedited process is to simplify your project’s structural and engineering review of your PV system project as well as to reduce the need for it to require detailed engineering studies resulting in unnecessary details.
Check on local zoning laws or attend local government zoning meetings
Zoning is a typically local issue. It varies by juridictions and is constantly revised. Be sure to confirm any zoning laws before the solar installation begins. There are some jurisdictions who have yet to include provisions in the zoning laws. Get in touch with local zoning before you begin the project. You may have to attend zoning and planning meetings prior to your permit for solar panels.
Pick up and complete the permit application and gather the documents you’ll need
Once you’ve completed the initial steps, there are a number of documents you’ll need to accompany your completed application for your permit for solar panels.
- Your name and your license type (photocopy), and number.
- Building permit – Some electric utilities might require a solar installation be reviewed before the local jurisdiction issues the building permit. Check this in advance with the utility.
- Location of installation – Expect to provide the location of the proposed installation along with information about the structure and its roof strength, panel elevation, and zoning related-information. System and array mountings have to be code-compliant.
- Wind load calculations and weight limit – You’ll need to provide documentation that the proposed system is able to meet the calculated load. This must be signed and sealed by the system designer.
- A to-scale site plan – This will include equipment locations, types of panels and inverters used, inverter capacity, sizes and types of conduits and conductors, lengths of runs, grounding diagram, and the location of interconnection.
- Electrical drawing data diagram – This includes modules, circuitry, fusing, connection points, disconnects, and PV array configuration, wire types, and wiring methods. The diagram must also contain all power sources, conduit and conductor schedules, equipment and their groundings, inverter output, AC connection to the building, overcurrent protection, and the required signs.
- Manufacturer spec sheets – You have to provide the manufacturer spec sheets for all system components.
- Cut sheets and instruction manual – This must include the VOC rating, ISC rating, PMAX, maximum series fuse rating, voltage at PMAX, current at PMAx, and the maximum series fuse rating.
- Cut sheets on batteries, if used – This should include connection diagrams and cable sizes. You need to provide information on the battery fusing and fuse holder, amp hour of the battery bank, the charge capacity of the charge system, and the details for the battery storage and venting.
- Interconnection agreement – Interconnecting the PV system to the grid is complex. Be sure to contact the state’s Public Service Commission for their specific process before applying for a permit for solar panels.
Pay for and pick up the permit—you’re ready to go!
Solerus Energy for permit packages
Solerus Energy offers a full permit package with an electrical single line diagram, system mechanical layout, installation plan, and product data sheets.
Getting Your Permit for Solar Panels Headache-Free
Getting your solar permit shouldn’t be a tricky one if you follow our simple process. And with our permit package, you’ll have the tools you need.
To learn more about getting your solar permit, contact us for more information today!