• Solar Roof

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.

  1. Approval Requirements

    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 check and building inspection.

  2. Submittal Requirements

    1. 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.).
    2. Demonstrate compliance with the BPC-045 Eligibility Checklist for Expedited Solar Photovoltaic Permitting (PDF: 140 kB)
    3. 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 inverter(s) and/or combiner box if used.
      • One‐line diagram of system.
      • Specify grounding/bonding, conductor type and size, conduit type and size and 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).
    4. A roof plan showing roof layout, PV panels and the following fire safety items: approximate location of 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).
    5. A completed Structural Criteria for Expedited Solar PV Permitting form (Toolkit Document #5) along with required documentation.
    6. 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 manufacture of the rack system, 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
    7. 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.
  3. Submit Application and Plan Review

    Permit applications must be submitted as a Building Permit with Plan Check to Permit Sonoma electronically via Permits Online.

    button - Submit Electronic Applications

    Permits not approved "over-the-counter" should be reviewed in one to three days.

  4. Fees

    View Current Building Fee Schedule

  5. Inspections

    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.