California Solar Permitting Guidebook, Fourth Edition

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This Guidebook is designed to help local governments and their permitting agencies improve permitting of small solar energy systems. It is also designed to help building owners and solar installers navigate permitting as efficiently as possible. Practices recommended in this Guidebook apply to permitting agencies of all sizes. The Guidebook is also written for permit applicants with all levels of expertise and includes sections covering:

  • Current laws, regulations and codes
  • The project approval process
  • Recommendations for expedited local solar permitting
  • Resources and informational material

This Guidebook focuses on the permit review and approval to install a rooftop solar system. It does not address zoning, land use approvals or environmental review that may be required for larger solar projects.

This Guidebook addresses both solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar water heating (SWH) technologies. These technologies have many fundamental similarities, as well as several important differences. Where requirements are discussed that apply to only one of these technologies, the text will note this.

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