Department of Building Inspection Customer Communication

DBI Update – New pilot program for instant, online electrical solar permits
February 09, 2023

Dear Customers,

Great news! Today, the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) launched a pilot program for instant, online electrical permits for some residential rooftop solar panel projects!

During the pilot program, California licensed contractors can use SolarAPP+, a web-based application, to bypass upfront plan review and obtain an instant, online electrical permit for qualifying rooftop solar installations of 10kWdc or less on single or two-family homes.

The new process being piloted is expected to reduce the issuance time for these electrical permits from two weeks to one day, and save contractors from having to go to the City’s Permit Center for in-person plan review meetings.

The pilot program was developed in support of the City’s Climate Action Plan 2021 and the goal to transition to 100% renewable electricity citywide by 2025 and 100% renewable energy by 2040.

The pilot program is open to the first 30 applicants to qualify and select the SolarAPP+ web application. At the conclusion of the pilot, we will send a survey to participants as part of our evaluation of the program.

The new web-based application is only for rooftop photovoltaic solar arrays. Due to safety concerns, permits for energy storage using onsite batteries continue to require submission and Fire Department review of written plans detailing fire protection and other safety features.

Solar projects utilizing the mobile application must also meet other requirements, including:

  • Generating 10kWdc or less
  • No existing onsite photovoltaic solar array
  • Installation limited to one solar module type
  • Single phase 240V services
  • Maximum of two DC strings in parallel

Our website has step-by-step instructions for applying for an electrical permit using SolarAPP+.

Thank you for your ongoing support and partnership!