National Simplified Solar Permitting Guide

See the full PDF version of National Simplified Residential PV and Energy Storage Permit Guidelines here, along with supporting commentary and structural commentary. (Updated September 2021)

Why Simplify Your Community’s Solar Permitting Process?

Permitting is one of the biggest challenges to solar growth at the local level. Across the 18,000 local jurisdictions in the U.S., the solar permitting process differs greatly and is often expensive, time-consuming, and outdated.

By implementing a streamlined and more standardized permitting process, local governments can make installing solar faster, easier, and more affordable for their staff, local residents, businesses, and solar companies. An important byproduct of a simplified process is making solar more affordable so that much more solar can be installed.

For SolSmart participants, adopting the solar photovoltaic (PV) or PV + energy storage system (ESS) permitting process outlined below will meet SolSmart criteria PI-1/PI-2/PI-5/PI-7.

What is a Simplified Permitting Process?

How to Develop a Simplified Solar Permitting Process

The following steps are intended to provide a format whereby local jurisdictions and contractors can permit simple PV or PV+ESS installations. This format adheres to all building, residential, fire, and electrical codes set for PV and PV+ESS published by the International Code Council (ICC) and National Fire Protection Association. The Commentaries in each Step provide background explanations for these guidelines.

Step 1: Gather Required Information for PV or PV + ESS Permit

Step 2: Review PV System Electrical Code Installation Requirements

Step 3: Review ESS Electrical Code Installation Requirements

Step 4: Review ESS Residential Code Installation Requirements

Step 5: Review PV and ESS Electrical Code Interconnection Requirements

Step 6 (Simplified): Review Structural PV Array Mounting Requirements

Step 6 (Detailed): Review Structural PV Array Mounting Requirements

Additional Resources