Solar Permits for Residential Rooftop Systems
Installations 10 kW or Less in One- and Two-Family Dwellings
This information bulletin is published to guide applicants through a streamlined permitting process for rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) projects 10 kW in size or smaller. This bulletin provides information about submittal requirements for plan review and inspections.
The forms below apply to roof-mounted photovoltaic systems for generating electricity.
Contractors Can Use SolarAPP+ for Faster Rooftop Solar Permitting
SolarAPP+ is an automated application for permitting new residential rooftop solar and storage systems that result in instantaneous permitting. SolarAPP+ lowers costs and expedites solar installations, encouraging property owners to invest in generating renewable and sustainable energy.
- If you are a licensed contractor or installer you may register for a new SolarAPP+ account. (Non-licensed owner-builders must apply for a regular Building Permit with Plan Check.)
- After registering with SolarAPP+, you can apply for a permit directly:
- Go to our Permits Online tool.
- Select the “Start a New Application” link and then select “View List.”
- Navigate to the “New Building Permit" section, and go to "Solar System via SolarAPP+ (BLD)".
- Select the "Apply Now" button.
For more information on how to use SolarAPP+ for permitting rooftop solar projects, please read our frequently asked questions.
Do Not Print Out Construction Plans or Other Documents
Construction plans and documents are to be submitted electronically. Paper documents are not accepted when applying for a permit.
The instructions and forms listed below are undergoing review. Some may still contain outdated instructions to print out copies of construction plans and documents. Please ignore that instruction and submit electronically. Only print items if directly instructed by Permit Sonoma for your situation.
Required documents for this type:
A County of Sonoma building permit is required to install a rooftop solar PV system with a maximum power output of 10 kW or less. These permits do not require a separate planning or fire services review and approval. All roof-mounted solar installations must meet California State Fire Marshall requirements; this information is verified through building plan checks and building inspections.
- Manufacturer label and listing specifications should be provided for all array components (e.g. PV Panel Module, Inverter, Rack, Mounting, Power Optimizer, Rapid Shutdown, Battery, etc.).
- Demonstrate compliance with the BPC-045 Eligibility Checklist for Expedited Solar Photovoltaic Permitting (PDF: 140 kB)
- A completed electrical plan and single line electrical diagram must be provided. Standard Electrical Plan templates (for BPC-047 Standard Inverter (PDF: 1.2 MB) or BPC-046 Microinverter (PDF: 1.5 MB) as applicable) may be used for proposed solar installations 10 kW in size or smaller.
- If standard electrical plans are not provided for use, an electrical plan must be submitted that includes the following.
- Locations of main service or utility disconnect.
- Total number of modules, number of modules per string, and the total number of strings.
- Make and model of the inverter(s) and/or combiner box if used.
- One‐line diagram of the system.
- Specify grounding/bonding, conductor type and size, conduit type and size, and the number of conductors in each section of conduit.
- If batteries are to be installed, include them in the diagram and show their locations and venting.
- Location and wording for permanent labeling of equipment as required by CA Electrical Code, Sections 690 and 705.
- Site diagram showing the arrangement of panels on the roof or ground, north arrow, lot dimensions, and the distance from property lines to adjacent buildings/structures (existing and proposed).
- A roof plan showing roof layout, PV panels, and the following fire safety items: approximate location of the roof access point, location of code-compliant access pathways, PV system fire classification, and the locations of all required labels and markings. Examples of clear path access pathways are available in the State Fire Marshal Solar PV Installation Guide (PDF).
- A completed Structural Criteria for Expedited Solar PV Permitting form (Toolkit Document #5) along with required documentation.
- For non-qualifying systems, provide structural drawings and calculations stamped and signed by a California licensed Civil or Structural Engineer, along with the following information.
- The type of roof covering and the number of roof coverings installed
- Type of roof framing, size of members, spacing, and maximum rafter spans.
- Weight of panels, support locations, and method of attachment
- Framing plan and details for any work necessary to strengthen the existing roof structure
- Site‐specific structural calculations
- Where an approved racking system is used, provide documentation showing the manufacture of the rack system, the maximum allowable weight the system can support, attachment method to the roof or ground, and product evaluation information or structural design for the rack system
- A completed CNI-037 Smoke Alarm & Carbon Monoxide Alarm Self Verification Form (PDF: 146 kB). The California Residential Code requires that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms be provided in all residential buildings where a building permit is issued for additions, alterations, or repairs with a valuation exceeding $1,000.
- A completed CNI-038 Water Conserving Plumbing Fixture Self Verification Form (PDF). In order to grant final approval on your permit, it is necessary to verify the replacement of non-compliant plumbing fixtures with compliant fixtures. This form provides the property owner the ability to self-verify compliant fixtures when work for which the permit is issued does not allow convenient access to the interior of the dwelling (e.g., re-roof, electrical service upgrade, or other exterior work).
Submit Application and Plan Review
Permit applications must be submitted to Permit Sonoma electronically as a Building Permit with Plan Check via Permits Online.
Permits not approved "over-the-counter" should be reviewed in one to three days.
Once all permits to construct the solar installation have been issued and the system has been installed, it must be inspected before final approval is granted for the solar system. Inspection requests received prior to midnight are typically scheduled for the next business day.
Schedule an Inspection
Permit holders must be prepared to show conformance with all technical requirements in the field at the time of inspection. The inspector will verify that the installation is in conformance with applicable code requirements and with the approved plans.