Solar Energy Systems & Facilities

Solar energy systems are any solar collector, solar energy device, or structural design whose primary purpose is to provide for the collection, storage, and distribution of solar energy for space heating, electric generation, or water heating. Before installing a solar system or facility, you must submit a completed permit application along with all required documentation as outlined.

Date Posted: November 17th, 2020 @ 4:38 PM
Last Updated: May 12th, 2022 @ 11:07 AM

When Is a Permit Required?

Solar system icon

A permit must be obtained before installing any solar system on a residential, commercial, industrial, or other type of building or structure.

Who Can Be Issued a Permit?

  1. Contractors who are licensed by the State of California with a classification appropriate for the work that will be performed and have a current Business Tax Certificate.
  2. Owners of a building or their legal representative.

How to Apply

Be prepared to provide the following:
  • Site plans ​(clearly identifying the street and driveway)
  • Roof plans (clearly identifying required Fire access paths and location of street and driveway)
  • Framing details
  • Structural calculations (required for ballasted, ground-mounted, or elevated systems)
  • Information on your mounting system
  • Self-Certification Checklist (to be completed through the Online Permit Center)


Ready to get started? First, make sure you are registered and activated at our Online Permit Center. For instructions, please visit our Planning & Building Video Tutorials webpage.

For solar PV or thermal systems:

  • Apply online for your system permit through our Online Permit Center (must be a registered and activated user)
  • NOTE: Ground-mounted and/or elevated systems and/or large storage tanks also require a separate Building Permit. Submit a Building Worksheet through our Online Permit Center. In the Worksheet, upload your completed Building Permit Application and all associated documents
  • Main electrical service panel replacement, subpanels NOT dedicated to a PV system, and energy storage systems also require a separate Electrical Permit. Click on the relevant link here: Commercial/Non-residential | Residential
  • Energy storage systems with a capacity greater than 20 kWh also require approval from the Fire Prevention Bureau. Please contact for additional information


Once we receive your application and have created it in our system, we will review your plans. If your plans require corrections or if we need further information, we will contact you. If your plans are approved, we will contact you to issue your permit. For the latest processing estimates, please see our Average Permit Processing Turnaround Times webpage.


Call (510) 238-3891 or find quick answers through our Permit Questions Portal. You may also schedule an appointment with Permit Counter staff during open hours.

Additional Resources