Small Solar PV Systems

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Per subsection (a) of Section 65850.5 of the California Government Code, "Small residential rooftop solar energy system" means all of the following:
  • A solar energy system that is no larger than 10 kilowatts alternating current nameplate rating or 30 kilowatts thermal.
  • A solar energy system that conforms to all applicable state fire, structural, electrical, and other building codes as adopted or amended by the city, county, or city and county and paragraph (3) of subdivision (c) of Section 714 of the Civil Code.
  • A solar energy system that is installed on a single or duplex family dwelling.
  • A solar panel or module array that does not exceed the maximum legal building height as defined by the authority having jurisdiction.
  • "Solar energy system" has the same meaning set forth in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 801.5 of the Civil Code.
  • "Specific, adverse impact" means a significant, quantifiable, direct, and unavoidable impact, based on objective, identified, and written public health or safety standards, policies, or conditions as they existed on the date the application was deemed complete.

Any solar energy system that requires structural engineering is not considered "small" and shall be processed in a standard manner. Systems that typically require engineering include, but are not limited to:
  1. Tilt mounted
  2. Mounted on 2X4 rafters
  3. Mounted on roof truss system
  4. Ground-mounted

Click on Hyperlinks for applicable requirements and information.

Based on the above information, if you believe your application qualifies as “small”, please complete and submit the Qualifying Questionnaire followed by a Solar PV Permit Application.

  • Planning review is required for solar PV installations regardless of size.
  • Fire Department approval is typically not required for solar PV installations of this size.

Click on Hyperlinks for applicable requirements and information.
  • Submittal Requirements for Residential Solar Photovoltaic Systems.
The standard electrical plan may be used for proposed solar installations 10 kW in size or smaller and can be downloaded below:

Alternatively, if the standard electrical plans are not used, an electrical plan that shows compliance with all code related requirements must be submitted for review.

Structural Criteria along with required documentation can be downloaded below:
A roof plan showing roof layout, PV panels and the following fire safety items: approximate location of roof access point, location of code-compliant access pathways, PV system fire classification and the locations of all required labels and markings. Examples of clear path access pathways are available in the State Fire Marshal Solar PV Installation Guide at: FIRE DEPARTMENT'S SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC INSTALLATION GUIDELINES

Once you have prepared your plans and filled out all documents, you may transmit them for processing (either electronically through your TO/24 portal or in person). Please make sure everything is filled out completely and accurately as failure to do so may delay your application. 

Once your completed application is submitted, and City Staff determines that it qualifies as “small,” your application will be processed expeditiously.


If City Staff does not find your proposal to be considered “small”, you will be notified, and, with your consent, your application will be processed in a standard manner which may require higher fees. 



Payments can be made online, in person or by calling (805) 449-2320. Cash payments must be made in person. 

NOTE: City requires 3 sets of plans. You have the option of providing 3 sets, or we will make copies at $0.15 per page and add the fee to your total. 


Once all permits to construct the solar installation have been issued and the system has been installed, it must be inspected before final approval is granted for the solar system. You can schedule an inspection and check your estimated inspector arrival window through your TO/24 portalClick HERE for a guide on how to schedule your inspection and check your time window.

Permit holders must be prepared to show conformance with all technical requirements in the field at the time of inspection. The inspector will verify that the installation is in conformance with applicable code requirements and with the approved plans. 

The inspection common checks include the following:

  • Number of PV modules and model number match plans and specification sheets
  • Array conductors and components are installed in a neat and workman-like manner
  • PV array is properly grounded
  • Electrical boxes are accessible and connections are suitable for environment
  • Array is fastened and sealed according to attachment detail
  • Conductor’s ratings and sizes match plans
  • Appropriate signs are properly constructed, installed and displayed, including the following:
    • Sign identifying PV power source system attributes at DC disconnect
    • Sign identifying AC point of connection
    • Sign identifying switch for alternative power system
  • Equipment ratings are consistent with application and installed signs on the installation, including the following
    • Inverter has a rating as high as max voltage on PV power source sign.
    • DC-side overcurrent circuit protection devices (OCPDs) are DC rated at least as high as max voltage on sign.
    • Switches and OCPDs are installed according to the manufacturer’s specifications (i.e., many 600VDC switches require passing through the switch poles twice in a specific way).
    • Inverter is rated for the site AC voltage supplied and shown on the AC point of connection sign.
    • OCPD connected to the AC output of the inverter is rated at least 125% of maximum current on sign and is no larger than the maximum OCPD on the inverter listing label.
    • Sum of the main OCPD and the inverter OCPD is rated for not more than 120% of the bus bar rating.

For additional information regarding this process, please contact Community Development Department:

Phone:  (805) 449-2320