Office of Energy and Sustainable Development
Office of Energy and Sustainable Development

Solarsun drawing 

The sun produces an abundance of free, clean, renewable energy. In fact, in just one hour, the sun generates more energy than the entire world uses in a year. Solar power harnesses this energy. Increasing the amount of clean renewable energy is a critical component of Berkeley community efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and grow the green economy.

Reduce before you produce. The first step in any solar energy installation is to implement conservation measures to reduce energy use. Conservation reduces expenses, greenhouse gas emissions, and minimizes the size of your solar PV or solar thermal system.

Is solar right for your building? To encourage more installations of solar power, Berkeley offers free solar technical assistance to residents, businesses, and non-profits through the SmartSolar program.The SmartSolar Program, operated by the local nonprofit CESC, provides free, independent advice on solar to Berkeley homeowners and businesses. The SmartSolar Program offers free solar PV assessments, recommendations, and objective analysis of bids.

Financing: PACE Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing allows property owners to borrow money to pay for renewable-energy systems and/or energy efficiency improvements and spread the cost of the upgrade over a period of time.

What permits are required to install solar panels? Electrical permits are required for all solar PV installations. Building permits are only needed if structural work is necessary to support the solar PV system. Solar projects do not require zoning permits or design review. See: Solar Permitting and Submittal Requirements.


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Office of Energy and Sustainable Development, 2120 Milvia St., Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: Phone: (510) 981-7465
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903