DC Solar Permit Services
All solar energy systems in the District of Columbia require proper permits and inspections prior to installation. In this article, we’ll take a look at the permitting process specifically for the DC area so you know exactly what to expect and how to navigate the process smoothly. Overwhelmed by the permitting process? Not to worry – we at Avila Solar are trained professionals who can guide you through the entire process.
You will need to prepare certain documents for review before you begin your solar system installation. By completing the following plans in this order, you will set yourself up for success to get your local permits approved by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA).
Submit a Zoning Review
First, you will need a zoning review. This may include a site plan, plats, and/or the Solar Zoning Self-Certification (SZSC) form. If your solar system will be less than four feet above your roof or parapet wall, you can submit the SZSC form online to speed up the process.
This may include a site plan, plats, and/or the Solar Zoning Self-Certification (SZSC) form. If your solar system will be less than four feet above your roof or parapet wall, you can submit the SZSC form online to speed up the process
Next, prepare your construction documents. These include scaled plans with all necessary specifications and details. Plans to submit include engineering, electrical, fire protection, structural, plumbing, and mechanical plans, as applicable to your situation. A site plan including a schematic of the major components (modules, inverters, disconnects, panels, main electrical service, and meters) should be included as well.
Not always required
Permit Notification Form
Finally, if your solar system installation involves the structural support of any adjacent buildings or structures or if it will be installed on a shared party wall, you will need to complete a neighbor notification form. If your project doesn’t affect any communal or neighboring property or structures, you can skip this step.
You will begin your permit application online by completing the Online Construction Permit Intake form. In the course of this application, you will need to enter in exact details about your solar energy system, like the type of solar energy system you plan to install, the wattage, size, and the number of solar panels, and so forth. You can also submit your initial payment online, and once your application has been processed, you will be emailed an invitation to upload all of your plan set documents to ProjectDox for DCRA’s review.
This online submission process allows for concurrent review by all departments, which means a quicker turnaround time for you. However, there are very specific formatting requirements so it can be time-consuming to prepare all of your documents. Consult the ProjectDox Applicant User Manual to be sure that you are completing everything correctly.
For photovoltaic solar systems, the building permit fees are assessed at these rates:
- For systems less than 15 kW: $250 for residential and $300 for commercial
- For systems 15-99 kW: $300 plus $11.25 per kW for each kW over 15
- For systems 100-200 kW: $1,250 plus $2.50 per kW for each kW over 100
- For systems over 200 kW: $1,500 plus $1 per kW for each kW over 200
- An enhancement fee is equal to 10% of the total fee as calculated above
Despite Washington, DC has a vibrant residential solar market, design and permitting challenges is a persistent hurdle to overcome. This challenge forces installation companies to adopt a strategy of standardizing solar designs in terms of topology and mounting methods. While this helps keep things simple and controls costs, it also neglects 25% of the housing stock in Washington, DC.
Our solar permit specialists have evaluated plenty of structural engineering plans and the biggest factor for installing solar on older homes is considering and designing for uplift resistance on brick. When designing your solar plansets we take this and many other data points into consideration.
At Avila Solar, we have several different permitting packages available for your residential solar system installation, all at affordable rates. Simply submit your project request online with a small deposit, and we will contact you as soon as possible to get started.
Expenses such as permitting and inspection fees, costs for interconnection to the grid, installation costs, and financing are all considered ‘soft costs’ of solar energy systems. These can all add up to a hefty sum, but by bundling all of the services with an Avila Solar package, you can save a significant amount of money. Our goal is to make solar energy accessible and affordable for everyone.
This depends on how quickly you can get all of your documents drawn up and submitted, whether your permits require any revisions, and how many applicants DCRA has received at the time of your submission, but expect anywhere from 2-8 weeks.
They do! As outlined above, you will begin your permitting process and submit all of your plan sets to DCRA via their website.
It depends. If your solar system installation involves the structural support of any adjacent buildings or structures or if it will be installed on a shared party wall, you will need to complete a neighbor notification form. If your project doesn’t affect any communal or neighboring property or structures, you can skip this step.