Getting a Permit: basics

Getting a permit

The first question before installing a solar energy system is, “do I need a permit?” The answer is maybe.

Call your local townhall to:
  • investigate local building codes, zoning ordinances, and subdivision covenants, as well as any special regulations

The City of Toronto has published this guide to their process. In Toronto’s case, if you follow the guidelines you do not need a permit to install the panels.

Be aware that:

  • Most PV solar panels have a per sq ft weight of 2.5 lbs.
  • Point load on most modern racking systems is 42 lbs or less.
  • Install your panel mounts directly into a roofing truss or rafter.
  • Use  an engineered product: Ie. brand name solar racking
  • Follow the solar racking installation procedures.
  • Understand what kind of rafter size your racking requires
  • Understand and follow the span length for your racking
  • Be aware of special conditions as they apply to permits (ie. parapets or unusual roofing configurations)
Best practise:
  • Do not extend your panel installation beyond the eaves or roof ridge.

Common problems homeowners have encountered with building .codes include:

  • Exceeding roof load
  • Improper wiring

Potential zoning issues include:

  • Obstructing sideyards
  • Erecting unlawful protrusions on roofs
  • Siting the system too close to streets or lot boundaries.
Special note:
If you have information on your area please submit it to Bobolinksolar. We are building a database to allow homeowners to speedily and reliably collect local permit information, including costs. We would hope to also host all forms. As well as include local experiences. 
We need to speed up installations and permitting in order to lower costs. Let your experience help others.

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