AE 868
Commercial Solar Electric Systems

Permitting and Design Requirements

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As mentioned in the overview of this lesson, in addition to the aforementioned codes, local jurisdictions and municipalities can amend and change some codes to some extent. Local municipalities have final jurisdiction and authority for projects, so communicating with your Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) and understanding permit requirements is going to be an important element of your job as a PV designer and installer.

Permitting and inspection

For most PV systems, permits are required from the building department, electrical department and, perhaps, fire department in some cases. The permits are important to ensure code compliance for a functional PV system.

After the permits are granted, installers and integrators can start the installation process. Upon the completion, an inspection should be scheduled to ensure complying with the design and installation standards. Inspection is usually done for the structural and electrical parts of the systems. Integrators will need to verify with their AHJ.

Design Requirements

Any solar design needs to meet certain requirements to function properly. The city, utility, or AHJ might request a design package that complies with national and local standards. This may include:

  1. The conceptual package showing the overhead of the location of the PV system and the utility interconnection point. 
  2. The one-line and three-line electrical drawings showing how the electrical connection between components is done and check electrical code compliance such as NEC.
  3. The mechanical and structural design showing the load on the PV array and the holding structure.
  4. Warning and signage that labels main parts of the PV system and provide guidance to utility personnel.
  5. Bill of material showing quantity and type of components used for the project.
  6. Official stamps by Professional Engineers (PE) for the electrical, mechanical, or structural documents (if needed).
  7. The specification datasheets for the main PV components.