Powering Up with Solar Panels: Navigating the Permitting Process

solar panel permits

The increasing popularity of renewable energy sources has resulted in a surge in the use of solar power. As more people realize the benefits of harnessing the sun’s energy, the installation of solar panels on residential and commercial buildings has become more widespread. Nevertheless, it is essential to comprehend the permitting process involved before undertaking a solar panel installation. This article offers an overview of the solar panel permits process and the prerequisites that must be met to ensure a legal installation.

What are Solar Panels Permits?

A solar panel permit is a document that permits you to install solar panels on your property. It is a legal requirement in most states and municipalities to obtain a permit before installing solar panels. The local government issues the permit and ensures that your solar panel system meets the required safety and performance standards.

Why Do You Need a Solar Panel Permit?

You need a solar panel permit to ensure that your system is installed safely and meets all the necessary standards. Solar panels are a complex system that requires expertise to install, and if not installed correctly, they can pose a safety risk to your property and the surrounding area. The permit process ensures that a qualified contractor does the installation and that the system is up to code.

Another reason why you need a solar panel permit is to ensure that your system is eligible for incentives and rebates offered by the government. In order to take advantage of the tax credits and other incentives offered by many states to promote the use of solar energy, a permit is typically required.

Types of Solar Panel Permits

There are several types of solar panel permits, and the type you need will depend on the location and size of your solar panel system. The most common types of permits are:

  1. Building Permit: The installation of solar panels on a roof requires a building permit. This permit ensures that the roof structure can support the weight of the panels and that the installation is done safely.
  2. Electrical Permit: An electrical permit is required to install a solar panel system’s wiring and electrical components. This permit ensures that a licensed electrician does the electrical work and meets all the safety standards.
  3. Zoning Permit: A zoning permit is required to install solar panels on the ground. This permit ensures that the location of the panels complies with the local zoning laws.
  4. Engineering Permit: An engineering permit is required for large-scale solar panel installations. This permit ensures that the installation meets all the necessary structural and engineering requirements.

How to Obtain a Solar Panel Permit

Getting a permit for solar panels can be different based on where they are and how big they are. Generally, the process involves the following steps:

  1. Research Local Requirements: The first step is to research the local requirements for solar panel permits. You can do this by calling the building department or zoning office in your area.
  2. Hire a Qualified Contractor: The next step is to hire a qualified contractor to install your solar panel system. The contractor will obtain the necessary permits and ensure that the installation meets all the required standards.
  3. Submit the Permit Application: Once you have hired a contractor, they will submit the permit application on your behalf. The application will include detailed information about the solar panel system, including the size, location, and type of panels.
  4. Permit Approval: After the application is submitted, the local government will review the application and issue the permit if all the requirements are met. The approval process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, based on where the system is and how complicated it is.
  5. Inspection: After the installation is complete, the local government will inspect the system to ensure that it meets all the necessary safety and performance standards.

Permitting Challenges

Obtaining a solar panel permit can be a complex and time-consuming process, and several challenges can arise during the process. Some of the common challenges include:

  1. Permitting Fees: Some local governments charge high permitting fees for solar panel installations, making the process expensive. Researching the fees before starting the process is important to avoid any unexpected costs.
  2. Delays: Delays in the granting of permits can occur for various reasons, including a backlog of applications or a lack of resources. Planning for potential delays is important to ensure the installation is completed on time.
  3. Zoning Regulations: Some local zoning regulations can limit the installation of solar panels, particularly in historic districts or areas with strict building codes. Researching the local zoning laws before starting the installation is important to avoid any issues.
  4. Interconnection Requirements: Sometimes, solar panel systems must be connected to the local power grid. This process can involve additional permits and fees, and it is important to research the requirements before installing.


Installing solar panels on your property is a great way to lower your carbon footprint and save money on energy bills. However, it is important to understand the permitting process to ensure the installation is done safely and legally. The permitting process can be complex, but by researching local requirements and hiring a qualified contractor, you can ensure that the installation is completed smoothly and meets all the necessary standards. With the growing popularity of solar energy, obtaining a solar panel permit is becoming increasingly important, and it is a crucial step in making the switch to renewable energy sources.


Do I need a permit to put solar panels on my property?

Yes, you will need a permit most of the time if you want to put solar panels on your land. The exact requirements will vary depending on your location and local regulations.

Who issues solar panel permits?

Your local building department or a similar regulatory agency typically issues solar panel permits.

How long does it take to obtain a solar panel permit?

The length of time it takes to obtain a solar panel permit will vary depending on your location and the specific requirements of your local building department. In some cases, it may only take a few days, while in others, it could take several weeks or longer.

What information must I provide when applying for a solar panel permit?

You will typically need to provide information such as the size and type of your solar panel system, your property address, and detailed plans for the installation.

How much does a solar panel permit cost?

The cost of a solar panel permit will vary depending on your location and the specific requirements of your local building department. In some cases, it may be a flat fee, while in others, it may be based on the size or complexity of your solar panel system.

Are there any regulations I need to know when installing solar panels?

Yes, there are typically a variety of regulations and codes that you will need to comply with when installing solar panels. These may include building codes, electrical codes, and zoning regulations, among others.

Do I need to hire a pro to put up solar panels, or can I do it myself?

Most of the time, you can put solar panels up yourself. But it’s important to make sure you have the right skills and information to do the installation safely and in accordance with all rules. In some cases, hiring a professional installer may be a better option.

What happens if I install solar panels without a permit?

Installing solar panels without a permit is illegal and could result in fines, legal action, and the requirement to remove the panels.

How long do solar panel permits last?

The length of time that a solar panel permit is valid will vary depending on your location and the specific regulations in your area. In some cases, permits may be valid for several years, while others may need to be renewed annually.

What happens after I obtain a solar panel permit?

After you get a solar panel permit, you can put your solar panel system in. During the installation process, it is important to make sure that you follow all rules and regulations.