Solar Photovoltaic (PV)solar PV icon

Reduce before you produce. The first step in any solar PV installation is to implement conservation measures to reduce energy use. Conservation reduces expenses, greenhouse gas emissions, and minimizes the size of your PV system. For energy savings tips check the PG&E website.  

Is solar right for your building? 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.

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. Please note that PG&E and the California Solar Initiative each have their own set of requirements as well!

Submittal Requirements

Application submittal and permit fees Call 510-981-7502 for an appointment to submit application materials and obtain permits for solar PV systems. Residential solar electric permits fees are set at the minimum electrical permit fee per installation with no extra charge for electrical plan check fees. Commercial and multifamily (3 or more units) are subject to electrical plan check fees. If needed, building permit and plan check fees will be based on the valuation of the structural work required.

Be solar ready. New buildings and major remodels that require zoning approval must be solar ready as a condition of obtaining use permits. Being solar ready means that a building has been designed to accommodate for future installation of a PV and/or solar thermal system. See Specifications for Solar Readiness.

Resources & Incentives for Solar

Return to The Office of Energy and Sustainable Development homepage