U.S. Department of Energy

Permitting, Interconnection, and Inspection

Close-up photo of a sheet of paper with PERMIT in the center.

2011 SunRun report estimated that permitting fees for a rooftop solar energy system cost an average of $2,500, though prices vary widely between jurisdictions. Photo from Alexis Powers, NREL

Permitting processes for solar projects and installations can involve various local, state, and federal entities—each of which has its own requirements for approval. While every distributed photovoltaic (PV) system must receive a permit from the local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ), utility-scale systems also require state and/or federal permits.

With more than 18,000 AHJs in the United States, installers spend an inordinate amount of time and resources learning their local permitting and inspection process and tailoring their business processes accordingly. The lack of process standardization across AHJs creates major inefficiencies for installers and for the AHJs.

Current Efforts

Below are examples of awardees, funded by Sunshot, that are working to reduce permitting, inspection, and interconnection costs:

These awardees are working to reduce balance of systems costs through streamlining and standardizing requirements and application formats across AHJs and utilities, as well as providing improved training for code officials and utility employees.