information
Tentative labor agreement reached

The City of Portland and LiUNA – Laborers Local 483 announce a tentative agreement, ending labor strike effective 1am today, Sunday Feb 5, 2023

Solar Permits

Service
Apply for solar permits online using DevHub. Learn about solar permitting, application types, submittal requirements and fees to install solar panels and solar water heating systems in residential and commercial buildings.
Man installing solar panels on roof
On this Page

Español  (Spanish) | Русский (Russian) | Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese) | 华语(中文)(Chinese)

What property owners should know 

Hire a solar contractor 

A solar contractor will apply for permits and coordinate inspections. Need help choosing one? Visit Choosing a Contractor on the Energy Trust of Oregon's website

What to expect during the application process 

  • The contractor will need the property owner's phone number and email address. 
  • The contractor will need to look at the roof to determine the type of permit needed.
  • Applications are reviewed in the order in which they are received. Check your place in the Daily Permit Request List to find out more about the current order of permit requests.

How to track the status of your permit 

Once you submit your application, there are various ways to track its progress. See Step 4: Check your permit status.


Step 1: Research rules that apply to a site

Watch in English.
Ver en Español.

Find out what rules apply in the property zone for a solar project online using Portland Maps. Special rules may apply if the property is located in a plan district, historic, or conservation district. Visit this page for more information on how to research the zoning that applies to your project.

City staff is available to meet and answer your permit-related questions. Learn more about our free 15-minute question appointments and schedule a meeting with a city planner, permit technician, building code and engineering reviewer, or a fire safety expert.

Step 2: Determine which solar permit path to take

There are two different review processes for solar permits: the prescriptive process and the engineered systems process. To determine if a structure meets prescriptive standards, you will need to assess the roof construction and be prepared to answer a series of questions when you apply for your solar permit. You can preview and prepare for the application questions using the solar worksheet.

Step 3: Apply for a solar permit 

Submit your complete solar permit request online through Development Hub PDX (DevHub).

After you submit a permit request, we will contact you within one to two business days if we need additional information.

This video highlights new features of Development Hub PDX for submitting solar permit applications.

All solar permit applications must include the following materials uploaded in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format:

  • Site Plan
  • Fire Access Path
  • A roof framing plan (Roof framing plan is not required if the roof is framed using pre-engineered trusses)
  • A roof cross section (Roof cross section is not required if the roof is framed using pre-engineered trusses)
  • System Racking Attachment (required for both Engineered and Prescriptive Pathways)
Solar hot water heating projects also need a plumbing permit application.
An email address and phone number for the property owner and the designer or technical lead on your project are required to be submitted with the permit application.

After submitting your permit request through DevHub, your submission will be reviewed by a permit technician to check that the information you provided meets minimum submittal standards. Your permit request will be assigned an IVR number during this request review process.

Step 4: Check your permit status

Watch in English.
Ver en Español.

Development Services reviews project plans for compliance with local and state development codes. Depending on the project, different review groups check each project.

To learn more about how to track the status of your permit, visit the "Check Permit Status" page, which also provides guidance and a short video on how to use Portland Maps.

Step 5: Respond to corrections

Watch in English.
Ver en Español.

You may need to make corrections to the plans you submit. Visit the page, "How to Prepare and Submit Permit Application Corrections Electronically," to find out how to submit corrections correctly through the Single PDF Process. If minimal submittal requirements are not met, corrections will be rejected.

The Single PDF process is different than the ePlans process. For ePlans submittals through Project Dox, visit our ePlans information page.

Step 6: Pre-Issuance 

Pre-issuance is the last step before your permit is final. We will do the following:

  • We review plans to see what changes were made. We also make sure the changes do not require another review. 
  • If changes occur during the review process, the reviewers will be notified – this will show on PortlandMaps.com as "Hold see comments." 
  • Review that fees are accurate.

When the final review happens and next steps for your permit 

  • This review is completed in chronological order based upon the sign-off date of the last technical review. 
  • Once your pre-issuance check is completed, we'll contact you. We'll let you know that the permit is ready to issue and about any fees due. 

You can find the contact information of the permit technician assigned to your permit on Portland Maps.

Step 7: Inspections 

Click here for detailed information on how to schedule a solar permit inspection, what to prepare for the inspection, and what to expect. 

Once your permit is approved and construction underway, you will need to call for an inspection. A City inspector will come to the project site and review the installation for compliance with state building codes. 

Learn more and watch the video about how to schedule and how to prepare for a solar inspection.


Solar permit fee estimates 

The fees listed in the table below are estimates. Final permit fees depend on the size and type of solar panel system as well as the review process (prescriptive process or engineered system). Fees for an electrical or plumbing permit depend on the system size or fixture count on a trade permit application.  

Prescriptive estimate

System TypeEstimated Building Permit FeesEstimated Electrical Permit Fees
P.V.

3.5 kW
$576.00$187.00
P.V.

5.5 kW
$576.00$265.00
Water Heating$576.00$143.00

Engineered Systems estimate   

System TypeEstimated Building Permit FeesEstimated Electrical Permit Fees
P.V.

3.5 kW
$770.00$187.00
P.V.

5.5 kW
$770.00$265.00
Water Heating$770.00$143.00

Small Business Empowerment Program

The Small Business Empowerment Program assists Black, Indigenous and people of color business owners and business owners with disabilities recognized by the ADA who have experienced barriers in the review process. 

Working with utility companies 

Oregon law allows all utility customers to generate their own electricity. You can also reduce electricity bills by installing a photovoltaic energy system. Your utility provider will switch out your existing utility meter for a bidirectional “net” meter. This tracks the power you get from the utility, and what you send back to the grid.

The power you use from your utility is offset by the power you send to grid and you are only charged for the difference or the “net.” You may generate more power than you use in a billing period. Then your bill will show no kilowatt hour usage charges, and you'll only be responsible for basic utility service charges. For more information visit Solar Net Metering – Energy Trust of Oregon.