Permit Process Improvements

Currently, the requirements and process of creating, submitting, and receiving a solar PV permit vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction with little to no standardization, which causes unnecessary delays in obtaining a permit, disproportionally increasing the solar installer's permitting costs, and ultimately increasing the customer's cost of installing a solar system.

The Diablo Innovation Alliance, working with local building officials from eight Contra Costa County jurisdictions and a group of local solar contractors, has created standard permitting documents. These include Information Bulletins, Checklists, and Guidelines, for both the jurisdictions and permit applicants, and a seamless online submittal system. The email submittal system allows for a streamlined and expedited permitting process for residential (up to 10kWs) and small commercial (up to 300kWs) solar PV systems that meet the building code requirements. In addition to creating and implementing a standard and streamlined solar PV permitting process, DIA has produced standard plan templates that provide for a roof plan, single-line electrical diagram, and structural and electrical calculation worksheets in an interactive PDF format. The fill-in-the-blanks PDF format allows the permit applicant to input information without having to create or re-create a permit submittal package, which can be submitted electronically.