Solar Panel Permits
Permitting for Solar Photovoltaic Systems
There are over 100 solar energy installations in Issaquah including the City's LEED Platinum Maple Street Fire Station. These systems contribute to the community's greenhouse gas reduction goals, produce onsite renewable energy and save residents and businesses money too!
Solar energy might be right for you if you:
- Own your home or commercial property;
- Have a suitable shade-free area of your roof; and
- Are interested in making a longer-term investment to reduce your environmental impact.
The City has streamlined the solar permitting process for residents. In fact, for most standard residential systems, you do not even need a building permit (an electrical permit through the State Department of Labor and Industries, is still required, however). Please consult the Solar Checklist (PDF) to see if your system requires a building permit. If your project does not meet the solar checklist criteria, the Development Services Department will work with you to review building and site plans.
Solar installations on commercial properties require building and electrical permits. Please work with the Department of Development Services on building and site plans.
- Photo-Voltaic Solar Panels - Roof Mounted One-and-Two Family Dwellings Tip Sheet (PDF)
- Department of Energy - Solar Energy Glossary
- Washington State University: Solar Electric Design, Operation and Installation for Builders (PDF)
Design & Installation Considerations
Solar Access & Performance
For optimal solar performance your collectors should be in a location that has clear unobstructed access to the sun (free of shading from roofs, trees, and other landscape features) for most of the day and through-out the year. During a site evaluation, a solar contractor should evaluate potential collector locations using a tool like a Solar Pathfinder that illustrates annual shade impacts.
Typical residential rooftop solar installations do not require additional structural engineering or reinforcements. However, in some cases with old buildings or unusual construction techniques, it may be necessary to make roofing improvements prior to mounting solar modules. If you are unsure about the structural integrity of your roof, or if it is in need of repair, have it professionally inspected to verify its condition and suitability.
Please refer to the Solar Energy Tip Sheet 24 on MyBuildingPermit.com for information on firefighter accessibility.