The A to Z of Solar Permit Services – California


Solar energy is an increasingly popular and eco-friendly way to power homes and businesses in California. It’s important to obtain the proper permits before installing a solar energy system to ensure compliance with building codes and regulations. In this article, we’ll explore the A to Z of solar permit services in California to help you get started on your solar energy project.

What are solar permits?

Solar permits are legal authorizations required for installing and operating solar energy systems. In California, there are typically two types of permits required for solar installations: building permits and electrical permits. Building permits are required to ensure that the installation meets local building codes and safety standards, while electrical permits are required to ensure compliance with electrical safety codes and regulations.

Who issues solar permits in California?

Solar permits in California are issued by various regulatory bodies depending on the location of the project. Local governments, such as cities and counties, issue building permits, while the state regulates electrical permits. The California Energy Commission (CEC) is also responsible for enforcing energy-related regulations and standards.

How to apply for solar permits in California

The process for obtaining solar permits in California varies depending on the regulatory body responsible for issuing the permit. Generally, the process involves submitting an application with detailed information about the proposed solar energy system. The application must include information such as the size and type of solar panels, location, and wiring diagrams. It’s important to provide accurate and complete information to avoid delays or rejections.

Solar Permit Services

Timeline for solar permit approval

The timeline for obtaining solar permits in California can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the project, the completeness of the application, and the workload of the regulatory agency. On average, the approval process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. To avoid delays, it’s recommended to submit a complete and accurate application and follow up with the regulatory agency as needed.

Cost of solar permits

The cost of solar permits in California varies depending on the regulatory agency and the size of the solar energy system. Building permit fees typically range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, while electrical permit fees are typically less expensive. It’s essential to estimate the cost of permits early in the planning process to avoid unexpected expenses.

Solar permit inspection

Once the solar energy system is installed, it must be inspected by the regulatory agency to ensure compliance with building and electrical codes and regulations. Inspections typically include a review of the solar panel installation, wiring, and safety features. If any issues are identified during the inspection, they must be corrected before the system can be approved for operation.

Importance of working with a reputable solar contractor

Working with a reputable solar contractor can help ensure a smooth and compliant solar permit process. A good contractor will have experience with the permit application process, understand building and electrical codes, and have a track record of successful solar installations. It’s important to research potential contractors and ask for references before choosing one for your project.

Solar permit renewals

Solar permits in California typically expire after a certain period and must be renewed to continue operating the solar energy system. The renewal process involves submitting a new application and paying renewal fees. It’s important to keep track of permit expiration dates and start the renewal process early to avoid any lapses in operation.


Obtaining the necessary permits for a solar energy system in California is crucial to ensure compliance with building and electrical codes and regulations. By understanding the A to Z of solar permit services in California, you can navigate the permit application process with ease and avoid common mistakes. Working with a reputable solar contractor or a solar permit services provider, estimating permit costs early, and allowing sufficient time for the approval process is all that you need to do.

If you are not from California and need a comprehensive guide to solar permitting, please check out our other blog that talks about the permitting process in general.


Q. What is a solar permit?

A. A solar permit is an official authorization granted by local authorities that allows homeowners or businesses to install solar energy systems on their property. It ensures compliance with building codes and safety regulations.

Q. Why do I need a solar permit in California?

A. In California, a solar permit is required to ensure that solar installations meet safety standards, adhere to local building codes, and comply with zoning regulations. It also facilitates the tracking of renewable energy adoption.

Q. Who issues solar permits in California?

A. Solar permits are typically issued by local building departments or authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ) in California. Each city or county may have its own specific requirements and processes.

Q. What information is needed to apply for a solar permit?

A. The required information may vary, but generally, you’ll need detailed plans of the solar installation, structural and electrical specifications, equipment details, and sometimes a site assessment.

Q. How long does it take to get a solar permit in California?

A. The processing time varies depending on the jurisdiction, complexity of the project, and the completeness of the submitted documents. It can range from a few days to several weeks.

Q. What fees are associated with obtaining a solar permit in California?

A. Permit fees vary by jurisdiction and are typically based on the size and complexity of the solar installation. Check with your local building department for specific fee information.