Do You Need a Permit for Solar Panels? Everything You Should Know
Installing solar panels in your home is an opportunity to save money on your energy bills and contribute to a greener world. Renewable energy is rising in popularity, with more than 1.47 million solar panels being used across the country.
But do you need a permit for solar panels?
Solar permitting will be required to install these systems. Every state has its own building codes and statutes you need to comply with. Here’s everything you need to know about solar panel permit requirements before you make the switch.
Do You Need a Permit to Install Solar Panels?
Before tackling this question, it’s important to address why you must go through the process in the first place.
Every state government is responsible for enforcing its own laws. A solar panel permit is there to hold solar installation contractors accountable for safety standards, quality, and building code compliance.
As frustrating as obtaining a permit for solar panels can be, remember that it is there for your protection.
Solar permitting is addressed at the local level. Your installation must adhere to state-wide safety standards and comply with local building codes. The process of getting a permit in Florida will differ from that in California.
Do You Need a Permit for Off-Grid Solar?
Off-grid solar panels will still make a change to your building, meaning you must comply with existing building codes.
The only difference is that you do not need to worry about an interconnection agreement because your solar system will not be connected to the public energy grid.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Solar Permit?
The time it takes to get a solar permit depends on various factors, including the rules and regulations in your area. Whether you live in a green-friendly location can also impact how long it takes to approve your permit.
It can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, particularly if an electrical inspector or someone from the fire department has to perform inspections.
Solar-friendly towns have far quicker and more streamlined approval processes, which grassroots campaigns have largely driven.
Working with an installer who offers solar permit services can usually quicken the process because they understand how the local application system works.
How to Get the Right Solar Permit
Now that we’ve answered, “Do you need a permit for solar panels?” which permit do you need to get your project off the ground? The answer is more straightforward than you might think.
Local codes and zoning regulations influence permitting standards and define which permit you need. Most homeowners will need two common permits.
Solar Panel Building Permit
The solar panel building permit is the permission you need to add visible solar panels to your home. Your permit will include details of the local safety regulations and all the requirements your installation project must meet.
Applying for this permit requires you to submit your construction and installation plans. Your solar panel contractor, such as EMT Solar & Roofing, will be able to provide all this documentation and do the legwork for you.
Solar Panel Electrical Permit
You will only need this permit if your new solar system is connected to the public utility grid. Otherwise known as an interconnection permit, the purpose of this permit is to ensure new installations adhere to the wiring and interconnection standards required by utility companies and public safety regulations.
Most utility companies will require a licensed electrician to configure and inspect the system. You will not require this permit if your solar system is classified as “off-grid.”
Permits by Location
Every town and city in the country has its own solar installation requirements. In some cases, your neighborhood may have distinct requirements from the rest of your own. Permitting is determined by a combination of existing building codes, zoning laws, and even local/state legislation on solar energy.
Some neighborhoods may even require permission from a homeowner association (HOA). If you are living in a neighborhood under the jurisdiction of an HOA, you will need to consult them about any rules they have.
In rare cases, you may even need to consult the local historical commission. If you live in a period home, you may even be denied a permit to avoid spoiling the appearance and compromising the integrity of a historically significant structure.
Your location will determine the permits you need and the necessary steps to acquire them. Using solar permit services from reliable contractors like EMT Solar & Roofing can make the process much easier.
Nearly all solar systems will have similar requirements for getting permits. The big exception is if you decide to install ground-mounted panels.
Ground mounts do not come with the same structural requirements as a rooftop system but may require a land survey.
What Happens if I Fail to Get My Permit Approved?
Most homeowners who apply for a permit will see it approved. As long as you work with a trustworthy contractor, this is little more than a box-checking exercise.
However, if your permit is denied, determine the reasons why. You may be able to make changes and re-apply.
Failing to obtain a building permit for your solar panels can quickly get costly, and you will usually be forced to take it down.
Get State-of-the-Art Roofing and Solar Services
Installing solar panels does not have to be stressful, and this investment will benefit your home and budget for years to come.
Get peace of mind by letting your contractor handle the permitting process. Your local contractor understands the rules and regulations they need to follow to get your application approved as soon as possible.
If you’re looking for professional solar panel installation in New Jersey, EMT Solar & Roofing has you covered. We will walk you through the process every step of the way.
To learn more about making your roof more sustainable, get your free quote now.