Tips on Navigating the Solar Permit Process

Posted by: Jeff Schrimpf on May 11

Having trouble navigating the solar photovoltaic (PV) permit process for solar system installations? The process is stressful, can take a lot of time, and at times, have you running in circles. Knobelsdorff Enterprises (KE) has more than 30 years of experience navigating the solar permit process, ensuring solar designs are complete and follow all AHJ requirements, so we can finish our projects on time and on budget.

“Developers constantly complain how long the solar permit process can take,” said Jeff Schrimpf, KE general manager, energy. “Prior to installing a solar photovoltaic system, an electrical, structure/building and stormwater permit is required by the local JHA. Some jurisdictions also require a site driveway permit, bonds, watershed permits, as well as wetland permits, depending on the asset location.” And these permits vary state-to-state, county-to-county, town-to-town.

Plan Ahead

The most important step in getting a solar permit is to understand what tasks are required to receive the permits. Schrimpf recommends developers start considering permits in the design phase, working closely with a qualified and experienced design engineer. “Your workflow processes and design can change if you don’t understand and follow local CUP (Conditional Use Permit) requirements. CUPs include instructions on work times, screening requirements, special design requirements and more,” said Schrimpf.

One-on-One Communication

“We’ve found building a relationship with these jurisdictions help to expedite the process,” said Schrimpf. “We work one-on-one with the local jurisdictions that establish and set requirements for permitting. By meeting with the local government bodies, we get a good understanding of what is required to quickly receive the permit.” 

A Complete Submission

When you are ready to submit your permit request to the local jurisdiction, ensure you have everything required and requested to the standards of the entity. “They (local jurisdiction) want a clean, clear package with everything requested before they will review and approve the permit. If the information has missing information or does not address conditions set forth in the CUP, the AHJ will reject the submission or request additional information to review, delaying your project,” explained Schrimpf.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

“Experience is key,” said Schrimpf. Companies such as KE understand the importance of navigating the solar permit process, so we can receive the permits on the first submission to the JHA. “Permits are only a small part of the superior value KE brings to our projects.  KE is also a leader solar installation and operation and maintenance services,” said Schrimpf.  “As an electrical, engineering and energy company under one roof, we can perform EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) services, and continue to work with our customers with startup, commissioning and O&M services.” KE can handle all facets of work on a solar project, including civil, structural, electrical and interconnect with electric utility.  

Click here for more information on how KE can help you navigate the solar permit process.