Permitting for Solar Power: Residential Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems
Ever thought about installing solar panels on your roof?
Concerned about the complexity of the permit process?
Wondering where to go for help?
As part of a Washington State Department of Commerce grant, Snoqualmie has adopted an expedited permitting process for small-scale roof-mounted solar installations for single-family residential customers. (Note: If you do not qualify for the expedited solar building permit or are doing a commercial project, the building permit will be subject to the standard review period.)
Solar contractors typically address permitting for interested residential applicants. Regardless of whether you are self-installing or hiring a contractor, a City of Snoqualmie building permit is required. All solar photovoltaic (PV) systems require both a building permit from the City of Snoqualmie and an electrical permit obtained through Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries (L&I). See the L&I Green Power Handout for more information.
Step 1: Preparation
Complete the following paperwork:
Step 2: Submittal
Visit the Building Division counter on the second floor of Snoqualmie City Hall, 38624 SE River Street in downtown Snoqualmie. Bring all required paperwork listed above. Remember, multiple copies of some items are required. If you have questions you wish to discuss with a building inspector or the Building Official, please call 425-888-5435.
Step 3: Review
Applications will be reviewed by the building and fire plans examiners for code compliance.
Step 4: Permit Issuance
Upon permit approval, pay the associated fee to obtain your building permit.
Step 5: Obtain Electrical Permit
Obtain your electrical permit from Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries (L&I) prior to installation. You do not have to have your electrical permit to apply for a building permit. The City of Snoqualmie does not issue electrical permits.
Step 6: Inspection
After the PV panels are installed, call the City of Snoqualmie Building Division at 425-888-5435 to schedule your inspection.
- If the project is completed according to plan, there are no further requirements.
- If the project is not completed according to plan, further corrections, inspections, or plan review may be required.
For More Information
City of Snoqualmie staff familiar with solar PV installations are available to answer questions and help you through the permitting process.
John Cooper, Building Official
firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-888-5435
Nicole Sanders, Land Use Planner
email@example.com or 425-888-5337
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Solarize Snoqualmie - 2015 Residential Solar Campaign
The official contracting deadline for the Solarize Snoqualmie campaign is March 2016. After that, new applications will not be accepted. Either way, we encourage you to consider rooftop solar. Equipment costs keep dropping and many state and federal incentives remain available. Most residents find they can cover 50–70% of their annual power needs with clean, green power.
The City appreciates the grant funding that made this program possible from the Washington Department of Commerce Northwest Solar Communities program.
The City of Snoqualmie signed an agreement in 2015 with the regional non-profit Northwest SEED to launch and jointly manage a mass solar installation initiative. The Solarize Snoqualmie campaign was aided by committed volunteers, along with financial support from the Washington Department of Commerce and Puget Sound Energy (PSE).
This exciting opportunity builds on several recent achievements.
During the 2014 Green Power Challenge, the City of Snoqualmie increased by 150% the number of households choosing to spend a little extra ($4 - $12) on their PSE power bills for clean, green energy. More than 350 accounts now participate, or about 8% of Snoqualmie households. as a result, the City of Snoqualmie was awarded a $40,000 PSE grant to install the first public, 9.9 kW solar array in Snoqualmie at Snoqualmie City Hall in 2015.
How it Works
By gathering dozens of interested homeowners, the campaign offered 10% off regular pricing due to the cost efficiencies of mass purchasing. State solar incentives meant a typical system was projected to pay for itself in just five years, and should then last another 20 to 30 years. Low-interest green loans were also available from banks and credit unions.
The first step for homeowners and business-owners interested in rooftop solar panels was to attend one of five public, 90-minute workshops. After attending a workshop, attendees were eligible for a free site assessment to see if their roof was suitable for solar. Interested homeowners then signed a contract directly with Northwest Wind & Solar, the qualified installer pre-selected by a citizen volunteer committee through a competitive RFP process.
Campaign Goal and Successes
The initial goal of the campaign was to reach 25 signed contracts in Snoqualmie, with a "stretch goal" of 30. However, the program was open to residents of North Bend and those in nearby King County areas. In January 2016, we have reached 36 contracts – 22 in Snoqualmie and 14 in North Bend – with a combined capacity of 220 kilowatts (kW). That's more than 20 times the capacity of the array at Snoqualmie City Hall. Solarize installations averaged 6.5 kW, but some were right at the 10kW maximum.
Before the 2015 Solarize Snoqualmie campaign, there wee just eight arrays (including the City Hall system),with a generating capacity of 54 kilowatts.
The selected solar contractor generously offered to give back to the community by donating 1 kW of solar for installation at a local non-profit or government venue for every 10 contracts signed.
For more information about Solarize Snoqualmie, contact Associate Planner Nicole Sanders at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 425-888-5337.
Learn about Solarize, through Solarize Washington.
Learn about current solar financial incentives.