House with solar panels on the roof

Residential Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System

How to get a permit for solar power at your home.


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Before Submitting an Application Prepare Application Materials Submittal Instructions Project Review and Permitting Paying Fees

This page provides you with a pre-submittal checklist for the permitting and inspection process when applying for the installation of a rooftop residential one- and two-family dwelling solar photovoltaic (PV) system.

Before Submitting an Application

Detailed code review will not begin until application submittals have been deemed complete by customer service staff. It is important that all required information is submitted for a project and it is the applicant’s responsibility to be informed on the prerequisites below: 

  1. You must begin work on your project within six months of permit issuance. If work has not begun after six months, the permit will expire.
  2. After work begins, if work is discontinued for a period of 12 months, the permit will immediately expire.
  3. A site plan is not required for residential single-family dwelling rooftop solar projects. A site plan is required for ground mounted solar PV systems. 
  4. The Electrical Permit is applied for through the residential permit by listing the electrical subcontractor’s information.
  5. Residential one and two-family rooftop solar PV systems are allowed in all residential zoning districts and can exceed the zoning district defined maximum building height regulations by up to 12 feet, per Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) Section 1.5.7.D.2.g.
  6. A Zoning Permit is not required for roof mounted solar systems that do not exceed the height allowed within the UDO.
  7. The regulations for ground mounted solar PV systems on property with either a residential one or two-family dwelling as the primary use can be reviewed in UDO Section 1.5.4.D.2.b.
    1. To apply for a permit for a ground mounted solar PV systems associated with residential one or two-family dwellings use the Residential Permit Application and select "Other" as the "Work Type".
  8. Plans may be submitted at the time of the permit application submittal. 

Prepare Application Materials

The below application forms and supporting documents are required for this project type:

  1. Residential Permit Application.
  2. Plans including PV array, inverters, combiners, controllers, solar array mounting system and wiring schematic.
  3. Specification sheets and manufacturer’s installation instructions for all manufactured system components that make up the Solar PV System.
  4. A signed and sealed document exhibiting that a design professional has performed a solar onsite inspection and states that:
    1. All PV equipment’s structural installation has been designed and inspected;
    2. Equipment will not create a negative impact of the building's building design; and,
    3. The work is in compliance with the applicable North Carolina State Residential Code.
  5. Complete the Owners Exemption Affidavit (when required per NCGS 87-1(b)(1).)
  6. Provide Notice of Lien Agent unless exempt: https://www.liensnc.com.

Submittal Instructions

Most residential one and two-family rooftop solar PV systems are eligible for online permitting through the Permit Portal.

Ground-mounted systems and projects not submitted through the portal should follow the instructions listed below.

At this step your application materials should be ready to assemble. Please take note of the instructions below, applications that do not meet these criteria will not be accepted:

  1. Only PDF file types will be accepted unless other file types (such as image, Excel, or CAD) are specifically called for as part of the application submittal process.
  2. .ZIP files are not allowed.
  3. Only one file should be associated with each discrete document included with the application package. For example, if an application requires 1) an application form, 2) a set of plans, 3) a calculation report, the applicant should transmit these as three separate files.
  4. City of Raleigh limits email attachments to 30 MB. To send larger files, you may send a file-sharing link (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.) to a folder with all required documents. Staff must be given direct access to your files and cannot accept links that require access codes, passwords, or logins.
  5. Submit all files (or file-sharing link) via email to DowntownDS@raleighnc.gov.

Tips for Submitting Solar PV PDF Files:

  1. Submit one PDF of the Resident Permit Application
  2. Submit one PDF of the plans including drawings for PV array, inverters, combiners, controllers, solar array mounting system, wiring schematic, and electrical plan.
  3. Submit one PDF of specification sheets and manufacturer’s installation instructions for all manufactured system components that make up the Solar PV System.
  4. One PDF of signed/sealed design professional document
  5. One PDF of Owners Exemption Affidavit (if required).
  6. One PDF of Lien Agent Notice (if required).

Project Review and Permitting

  1. Most residential one and two-family rooftop solar PV systems are eligible for same-day online permitting through the Permit Portal.
    1. A small percentage of projects may get flagged in the portal for further review. If that is the case, the following steps will apply:
      1. Submit application and files (or file-sharing link) via email to DowntownDS@raleighnc.gov.
      2. Customer Service Center staff will review your application and supporting documents for completeness and create a case number for tracking. Applicants will be notified by email when a project is processed. Standard review times are available to view online. Plan review comments can be viewed any time via a registered account in the Permit and Development Portal.
      3. Your project will then be routed for Stormwater  and Multi-trade plan review.
      4. Upon the review cycle approval, a Permit Advocate will create an invoice for payment and upon payment, the permit will be activated.
  2. Once issued, the permit holder can schedule an inspection via the permit portal. This inspection which typically will be the final inspection. View a helpful solar inspection checklist.
  3. A Certificate of Compliance will be available after the design professional structural installation documentation and the Building Official’s approval.

Paying Fees

The Development Fee Guide provides a detailed list of specific development fees.  

A  fee calculator may be used to obtain an estimate of some building and trade permit fees.

Contact

 

Customer Service Center
ds.help@raleighnc.gov
919-996-2500

Lead Department:
Planning and Development
Service Categories:
Permits - Residential

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