Solar Permits

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.
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What homeowners 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 homeowner's phone number and email address. 
  • The contractor will need to look at the roof to determine the type of permit needed. 

How to track the status of your permit 

Use to find the status of your permit. For instructions on how to use Portland Maps visit Step 4: Track a permit under review.

Step 1: Research rules that apply to a site

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Find out what rules apply in the property zone for a solar project online using Portland Maps. If the property is located in a plan district, historic, or conservation district, unique rules may apply. If you have questions about zoning, please schedule a free 15-minute virtual meeting with a construction, zoning or development expert. 

Click here to meet with a Planning & Zoning 
Click here to meet with a Life Safety Reviewer 
Click here to meet with a Fire Safety Expert
Click here to meet with a Permit Technician

Step 2: Determine which solar permit path to take

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There are two different review processes for solar permits: the prescriptive process and the engineered systems process. Review the Checklist and Submittal Requirements for Solar Installations to determine which process your project will follow. 

  • Solar energy systems that meet the requirements of the solar prescriptive process are not required to be designed by an Oregon registered design professional.
  • Solar energy systems that do not meet the prescriptive process requirements will follow the engineered systems process. The engineered systems process requires the system to be designed by an Oregon registered design professional.
  • Review the list of projects that do not qualify for the prescriptive process hereChecklist and Submittal Requirements for Solar Installations.
  • Here's a tip: You may need to complete Section “A” in the Checklist  to find out if your project will follow the engineered or prescriptive process. If you answer “No” to any item in Section ”A” on the Checklist, your installation does not qualify for the prescriptive path and you must follow the engineered process. 
  • Learn more about the engineered systems process in these Guidelines for Residential Solar Permits using Engineered Systems
  • Structural Design Requirements for Solar Installations apply only to projects following the engineered systems process. 
  • Please note that projects that follow the engineered systems process may have a longer permit review timeline.

Step 3: Apply for a solar permit 

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Applications for both prescriptive and engineered solar permits must include the information listed below. If your project includes an engineered system, you are not required to complete Section A of the Checklist.  Solar electric systems do not need a plumbing permit, and the plumbing permit application is only required for solar heating projects.

Solar permit application forms 

Need help filling out the Building Permit Application? Please check out our How to Fill Out a Building Permit Application guide. 

For more information on permits, application requirements or solar panel systems, check out the Solar Energy Systems for 1 & 2 Family Dwellings program guide.

Watch the demonstration on how to submit a solar permit using DevHub our online permitting system.

Submit your complete solar permit request online through DevHub. View instructions to Submit a Permit Request Online using DevHub.  After you submit a permit request, we will contact you within one to two business days if we need additional information.

We will review your solar permit application request for completeness.

The application review is completed in order of the date and time of submission. Check the reports linked here to find out more about the current order of permit requests. 

Step 4: Track a permit under review

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

  • Planning and Zoning
  • Plan Review
  • Permitting Services
  • Fire
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing

You can track the status of your permit on Portland Map using your IVR number or application number

For detailed instructions, learn how to use Portland Maps to check on a permit under review.

Step 5: Respond to corrections

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You may need to make corrections to the plans you submit. Click here 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 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 

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 TypeBuilding PermitElectrical Permit

3.5 kW

5.5 kW
Water Heating$350.00$123.00

Engineered Systems estimate   

System TypeBuilding PermitElectrical Permit

3.5 kW

5.5 kW
Water Heating$494.00$123.00

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. 

Man installing solar panels on roof