PV Permit Packages Status

SolarDesignTool is geared toward designing grid-tied, residential-scale PV systems in the United States.

The vast majority of projects which users create in SolarDesignTool are between 5kW and 30kW. This range is the “sweet spot” in terms of equipment that we support, and the limits of what the app is capable of. Single-line diagram generation requires that the system has no more than four (4) strings per inverter, for up to two (2) inverters.

We do not recommend using SolarDesignTool for designing systems larger than 75kW.

Your experience is going to depend on what type of system you are designing. For example, if you are designing a…

  • Residential system with the array installed on a single sloped roof face with composition shingles or tile, using a racking product that we fully support*: You should be able to create the project, import your roof model (acquired from rooforders.com), design the system, add the BOS components, and generate a complete permit package in about 8 minutes.
  • Residential system with the array installed on multiple sloped roof faces with composition shingles or tile, using a racking product that we fully support*: You should be able to create the project, import your roof model (acquired from rooforders.com), design the system, add the BOS components, and generate a complete permit package in about 8-20 minutes. It takes a little longer than a single-roof system, because array layout editor you will use to position the modules is one of the oldest parts of SolarDesignTool and is not quite optimal for moving modules between multiple roof faces.  But worry not, we are working on a completely new front-end for the app that will solve this problem.
  • Residential system with (1) a flat rooftop array or (2) a sloped rooftop array using a racking product that we do not fully support*: You should be able to create the project, import your roof model (acquired from RoofOrders.com), design the system, add the BOS components, and generate a partial permit package in about 15-30 minutes. The extra time is needed because you will need to provide all sorts of details that you otherwise would not need to provide for the racking system. The first time you do this, it could add an extra 20 minutes to the process because you will need to find the weights of different parts, the rail’s maximum cantilever coefficient, and some other things. Doing your second system will be easier because you will already have this information on hand. However, the BOM you create will not include the racking parts unless you use a system that is fully supported. If you prefer to use a racking system that we do not fully support, you should urge the manufacturer to contact us about fully supporting their products. Here’s list of what will be missing from the permit package.
    • Attachment detail page: You will need to create one, or get one from the manufacturer and add it to the permit package.
    • Engineering Letter: You will need to add this yourself.
    • UL 2703 Grounding and Bonding Certification: You will need to add this yourself.
    • UL 1703 Class A Fire Certification: You will need to add this yourself.
  • Residential system with sloped rooftop array on a roof that is not composition shingle or tile: You should be able to create the project, import your roof model (acquired from RoofOrders.com), design the system, add the BOS components, and generate a partial permit package in about 8-20 minutes. Here’s list of what will be missing from the permit package.
    • Attachment detail page: You will need to create one, or get one from the manufacturer and add it to the permit package.
    • Attachment plan page: You may have an attachment plan page, however, it may need to be modified or redone to provide more detail.
  • Residential system with a ground-mounted array: You should be able to create the project, define your installation areas, design the system, add the BOS components, and generate a partial permit package in about 8-15 minutes. Below is a list of the pages that are missing, and what you will need to do after generating the partial permit package.
    • Site Plan: You will need to create your own site plan from scratch, because our tool does not currently support drawing property boundaries, and labeling all site features (such as other structures, septic fields, showing buried conduit, etc).
    • Elevation drawings & foundation plan: You may need to draw this as well. Though AHJs will often except the drawings and specs provided by the racking manufacturer.

We do plan to eventually upgrade the site plan generator to include boundaries and other site features, however, as of right now, these capabilities do not exist.

Other modification scenarios:

  • If AHJ requires you to list and show rapid shutdown remote activation switches (we include rapid shutdown devices in the schematics, just not the remote activation switches), you will need to modify the drawing by editing the provided DWG. We will support this in the future.
  • If you are using roof-mounted AC combiner boxes (such as Enphase’s aggregator), you may need to make some modifications. We currently only support running conductor in conduit to an AC combiner panel. We will support this in the future.
  • If you are using NM-B (Romex) cable for AC microinverter branches, you may need to make some modifications.  You can edit the single-line diagram to specify these. We will support this in the future.
  • If you are tying into a subpanel, you will need to modify the permit package. We will support tying into subpanels in the future.
  • If you are upgrading your main service panel, you will need to modify the permit package. We will support panel upgrades in the future.
  • If you are tying into a solar-ready panel, you will need to modify the single-line diagram. We will support these types of panels in the future.

 

Installation area types:

Supported Pages that must be supplied by user Plans to be supported in future
Comp Shingle YES
Tile
(Flat, W, S, Other)
YES
Standing Seam YES May require additional documents using file include feature. YES
Corrugated Metal Partial May require additional documents using file include feature. YES
Trapezoidal Metal Partial May require additional documents using file include feature. YES
Flat Roofs (commercial) NO Commercial-sized systems are not supported. NO
Flat Roofs (residential) Partial Attachment plan

Attachment detail page

Racking system documents

YES
Ground Arrays Partial Foundation Plan

Ground Array Elevation

Racking system documents

Partial

 

Pitched roof rail-based racking systems:

Supported Pages that must be supplied by user Plans to be supported in future
IronRidge Pitched Roof YES
SnapNRack 100 series YES
Unirac Solarmount YES
QuickMountPV Attachment Products YES
All others NO Attachment plan

Attachment detail page

Racking system documents

If you are interested in us supporting a racking system, please have the manufacturer reach out to us.

 

Codes:

  • Electrical: NEC 2011, 2014. (NEC 2017 and CEC 2015 coming soon)
  • Fire: CFC 2016, IFC 2012, IFC 2015, NFPA 1 2015
  • Other codes: Not supported at this time.

 

PV Permit Package Guarantee:

  • We can provide refunds for any permit package that is rejected by an AHJ if that rejection is a result of an error. To get a refund, customer must send us all documentation/feedback from the AHJ that outlines the reasons for rejection.
    • Examples of eligible errors: miscalculation, incorrect data, or anything else that is factually incorrect.
  • No refunds will be provided for rejections due to AHJ-specific requirements (local code citations, custom notes, styling requirements, etc). If the United States had a national standard for permitting, we would be able to make such a guarantee, however not only is there no standard, but with more than 18,000 different AHJs in the country, each with their own code interpretations and often with unique requirements that change with little notice, whenever they want, any number of times a year, it is simply impossible to make this kind of guarantee.

 

Price Corrections:

Problem Resolution Price Reduction
(After April 30 When Full Price Period begins)
Permit package for ground mount array will not include foundation plans or elevation plans. This reduction will not apply if it is a combination ground array and rooftop array. Retrieve document from ground array manufacturer website or create own drawing $25
Permit package fails to generate Single-Line Diagram because system size is out of spec Create own Single-Line Diagram $20
Permit package is unable to produce a Site Plan Create own site plan $18
Permit package is missing a datasheet for a module, inverter, or a fully-supported racking system Send us a request to add to our database and regenerate $0
Permit package is unable to produce an attachment plan Create own attachment plan $15
Permit package is unable to produce a PV safety labels sheet Create own safety labels sheet $8
Permit package is unable to produce an attachment detail page for a fully-supported racking system Create own attachment detail page. $8