Chasing Away the Gloom of Solar Permits


Taking on the bureaucratic challenge of submitting and getting a permit with the local city or county governments in California has become a task that most people try to avoid. Solar Permits have the additional complexities of engineering, building, and electrical code combined with utility regulations and state legislature mixed in just for fun. There is a reason why many home owners turn to specialized companies who are making millions installing and leasing solar systems. However, it is possible for the average homeowner to navigate the twists and turns of the regulatory maze for a Do-It-Yourself solar system.


Just understanding the steps involved and the order in which everything happens takes a bit of research. It might vary slightly for your city or local jurisdiction, but there is a general process which works for most solar projects.  The drawing below was created with SmartDraw to illustrate the steps:


The permit requires several drawings which cannot be handled easily with basic office products. Specialized professional drawing programs are expensive and have a huge learning curve. It’s a good thing that SmartDraw has the ability to produce every drawing and diagram required for a Solar Permit. The fact that it is relatively inexpensive and easy to use is icing on the cake. Here are a couple of the drawings created by SmartDraw:

Site Map and PV Layout Diagram


1-Line Electrical Diagram



SmartDraw exports everything to a PDF file which can be printed and submitted via paper or electronic methods. Having your plan documented speeds the process and ensures that everything goes smoothly. Even the most seasoned bureaucrat appreciates it when all the “i”s are dotted and the “t”s are crossed. The truth is, it is important for the work to be done at a professional level for the safety and longevity of your home and neighborhood. It’s a good thing we have tools at our disposal which make it easier to meet all the requirements.

It’s a brighter day with SmartDraw on your side.