Building a good relationship with your city’s permit office and inspectors can be very helpful when planning and executing your PV solar panel system. Visiting the city permit office early in the process allowed us a chance to ask questions and understand what the inspectors would be looking for.
In our case, the inspectors were most concerned with how the mounting posts or standoffs would penetrate the roof. It was critical that the standoffs made precise contact with the roof support beams and that the flashings (water-tight coverings) around the standoffs would not allow any moisture to get into the roof. We used Oatey flashings, a common roofing supply that our inspectors were familiar with and this increased their confidence in our installation.
In many cities, you may find that the permit office is unaccustomed to DIY installations. Therefore, this relationship will be important in securing the necessary permits.
Builder’s Permit – The first permit required for a PV solar panel installation is a builder’s permit. This is mainly concerned with structural load and roof penetrations as well as the stability of the panels.
Electrical Permit – The other type of permit required is the electrical permit which is concerned with whether the electrical wiring meets the NEC, or National Electric Code, requirements.
Plan for about 2% of your budget to cover permit costs.