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CPF Webinar Event - Dec.

9, 2009

Simplifying Solar Permitting

Doug Payne, SolarTech / Real Goods Solar
Bill Brooks, Brooks Engineering / Solar ABCs
Annie Carmichael, Vote Solar
Jeremy Neigher, Clean Power Finance
Introduction to CPF
CPF’s Mission
• Enable mass market adoption of solar in the US

CPF’s Presence
•CPF is the nation’s leading provider of solar software & services
•1000+ solar professionals nationwide
•41% of CA residential installs used CPF

CPF’s Customers
•Manufacturers, Distributors, Installers

CPF’s Value
•One central location to manage your solar business
CPF Tools:
Solar Software & Services

Save Time, Cut Admin Costs, Sell More Solar

Solar Quoting Leads

• CRM / MRP • Exclusive
• Latest Policy • Non-exclusive
• Sales Mgmt • Res./Sm. Comm

Financing Products
• Residential • Rebate forms
• Commercial • 3D roof images
• Solar Insurance
Solar Permitting Webinar

Our Speakers:
1. Bill Brooks
- Brooks Engineering / Solar ABCs

2. Doug Payne
- SolarTech / Real Goods Solar

3. Annie Carmichael
- Vote Solar / Project:Permit

4. Question & Answer

Contact Info

• 866-525-2123
Solar ABCs Efforts For
Training Code Officials
Presented by
Bill Brooks, PE
Brooks Engineering
Panel Lead: Code Official Panel, Solar ABCs
Code Official Training
• The focus has been to help train electrical inspectors
and building officials tasked with the plan checking
and inspection of PV systems.
• John Wiles of New Mexico State University writes
articles for IAEI Journal and Home Power Magazine.
• Mr. Wiles also provides training of Code Officials.
• Bill Brooks also provides training of Code Officials.
• A calendar of training events is found on
How to get Code Official Training
in your area
• Training sessions can be arranged when a sufficient number
of code officials can be assembled for a detailed educational
• Training sessions can be provided for building and electrical
code officials or fire officials for 4 to 8 hours of training with
40 or more participants.
• Local financial and logistical support is very helpful in being
able to provide the maximum amount of training with limited
• A calendar of training events is found on
Expedited Permit Process
for Small-Scale PV Systems

Final Version Available:
Required Information for Permit
• Site plan showing location of major components on the property.
This drawing need not be exactly to scale, but it should represent
relative location of components at site (see supplied example site
plan). PV arrays on dwellings with a 3’ perimeter space at ridge
and sides do not need fire service approval.
• Electrical diagram showing PV array configuration, wiring system,
overcurrent protection, inverter, disconnects, required signs, and
ac connection to building (see supplied standard electrical
• Specification sheets and installation manuals (if available) for all
manufactured components including, but not limited to, PV
modules, inverter(s), combiner box, disconnects, and mounting
Step 1: Structural Review of
PV Array Mounting System
• Is the array to be mounted on a defined,
permitted roof structure? Yes/No
(structure meets modern codes)
• If No due to non-compliant roof or
ground mount, submit completed
worksheet for roof structure WKS1.
Roof Information:
• Is the roofing type lightweight (Yes = composition,
lightweight masonry, metal, etc…)_____________
– If No, submit completed worksheet for roof structure WKS1
(No = heavy masonry, slate, etc…).
• Does the roof have a single roof covering? Yes/No
– If No, submit completed worksheet for roof structure WKS1.
• Provide method and type of weatherproofing roof
penetrations (e.g. flashing, caulk).____________
Mounting System Information:
• The mounting structure is an engineered
product designed to mount PV modules?
– If No, provide details of structural attachment
certified by a design professional.
• For manufactured mounting systems, fill out
information on the mounting system below:
Mounting System Information:
a) Mounting System Manufacturer ___________Product Name and
b) Total Weight of PV Modules and Rails ___________lbs
c) Total Number of Attachment Points____________
d) Weight per Attachment Point (b÷c)_________________lbs (if greater
than 45 lbs, see WKS1)
e) Maximum Spacing Between Attachment Points on a Rail
______________inches (see product manual for maximum spacing
allowed based on maximum design wind speed)
f) Total Surface Area of PV Modules (square feet)_________________ ft2
g) Distributed Weight of PV Module on Roof (b÷f)_______________ lbs/ft2
– If distributed weight of the PV system is greater than 5 lbs/ft2, see
Step 2: Electrical Review of PV System
(Calculations for Electrical Diagram)
• In order for a PV system to be considered for an
expedited permit process, the following must apply:
1. PV modules, utility-interactive inverters, and combiner boxes are
identified for use in PV systems.
2. The PV array is composed of 4 series strings or less
3. The Inverter has a continuous power output 13,440 Watts or less
4. The ac interconnection point is on the load side of service
disconnecting means (690.64(B)).
5. The electrical diagram (E1.1) can be used to accurately represent the
PV system.
Site Diagram
• Drawing does not need to be to scale,
but it should basically show were the
major components are located.
• If array is ground mounted, it should
show that it conforms with allowable
One-line Diagram
• Should have sufficient detail to call out the
electrical components, the wire types and sizes,
number of conductors, and conduit type and
size where needed.
• Should include information about PV modules
and inverter(s).
• Should include information about utility
disconnecting means (required by many
Major Component and
Array Electrical Information

• Inverter information
• Module information
• Combiner Box
• Disconnects
Inverter information
• Model number and manufacturer’s “cut sheets” for
the specific model.
• Listing—is the inverter listed to UL1741 and labeled
“Utility-Interactive”? For a current list of compliant
inverters, visit the California Solar Program
• Maximum continuous output power at 40oC
Module information
• Manufacturer’s “cut sheets” for the specific model.
• Listing. The module should be listed to UL 1703.
For a current list of modules that are listed to UL
1703, visit the California website.

• Listing label information

Typical PV Module Label
Array electrical information
• Number of modules in series
• Array operating voltage
• Array operating current
• Maximum system voltage
• Array short circuit current
SolarTech & Parnters
Excerpts from 2nd Annual Permitting &
Installation Symposium

Doug Payne, SolarTech Executive Director

December 3rd, Commonwealth Club, San Francisco
• About SolarTech
• Our Approach
• Permitting Initiative
– Objective
– Symposiums
– Industry Call to Action – “The Challenge”
• What’s next?
About SolarTech
SolarTech provides innovative
expertise and accelerates
local solar markets.

We remove barriers, ensuring

a long term, sustainable solar

2006 2007 2008 2009

Collaboration to Build Markets
Real vs. Ideal
Capacity leads or lags?

Capacity to Deliver  Inflection points – Soft/Hidden
Costs, Process inefficiencies
Adoption Maturity

become limiting factors

Phase 1, Awareness Phase 2: Adoption Phase 3: Acceleration Phase 4: Maturity Phase 5: Sustainability
State Policy
State Policy Innovative Financing,
Innovative Financing, Solar Easement,
State Policy Solar Easement, Net Metering,
State Policy Innovative Financing, Net Metering, Interconnect Stds,
Solar Easement, Solar Easement, Interconnect Stds, Special Contractor Licensing,
Net Metering, Net Metering, Special Contractor Feed in Tariff,
Interconnect Stds, Interconnect Stds, Licensing, DOE Solar America Cities
Special Contractor Special Contractor Feed in Tariff, (Y/N),
State Policy Licensing, Licensing, Solar America Cities (Y/N), RPS, Carbon Policy,
Solar Easement, Solar America Cities, Solar America Cities (Y/N), RPS, Carbon Policy, Green Building Stds,
Net Metering, RPS, Carbon Policy, RPS, Carbon Policy, Green Building Stds, Decoupled tariffs,
Interconnect Stds Green Building Stds, Green Building Stds, Decoupled tariffs Smart Grid Policies and

Macro Questions:
• What barriers exist relative to the market’s maturity?
• What solutions are needed? When? How?
• Advocacy? Federal Standards? Local/Regional Systems & Solutions?
Approach Market
•Collaborative, Working Consortium
Permitting Standards
•Integrated, Systematic methods
•Engage multiple stakeholders: Performance Consistency
•Unified by issues of common concern Workforce Guidance
•Explore links between Macro ↔ Micro issues

•Objectives: Finance Cost / Time

•An optimal mix of national, state, local policies,

best practices which contribute most to Installation Quality

accelerating markets towards maturity

•While acknowledging local market variances Interconnect

Permitting Standards: Codes, Submittals, AHJs,
Predictability, Cost/Fees

• Level of Collaboration Federal  State  Regional  Local

• Common Problems
– Permit process varies significantly by jurisdiction
– Many projects take multiple trips to city for each permit
– Lack of consistency, transparency, predictability = High Overhead

• How to work together?

– Convene Workshops / Symposiums / Summits, Engage local code & elected Officials
– Cross Train Building officials, code enforcement/inspection, Fire safety, & Industry
– Standardize forms, unify codes, guidelines to streamlining, optimize for CAFIRST*

• Accomplishments (Completed / Ongoing)

– Federal : Solar ABCs Permit Process Guidelines (small scale PV)
– SolarTech: Online Permitting, Integration w/Inspection and Interconnection
– Bay Area Climate Collaborative  Goal #1 across 100 Bay Area Cities
– VoteSolar (Project Permit), Sierra Club (Fees)

Result / Opportunity
Reduce permit times by 50% by 2011
A System’s Approach to Permitting and Installation
Context of “Upturn”
• The economic macro-environment has fundamentally changed.
• It will continue to change, shaped by the inter-dependencies of globalization,
technology, and financial systems (and their collapse)
• We need massive changes in how we produce, delivering, and use energy
• Private/Public Partnerships are essential, everyone has a stake

Key Questions
• Can we reshape Permitting, Inspection, Interconnection of solar energy
• Can we create a fresh approach, a systems approach, a mastery of tools /
best practices / standards enabling a faster transition to a renewable future?
• What’s a new way of thinking about Best Practices?
Industry Goals from the SolarTech CALSEIA
Annual Summit (May 2009)

Permitting Committee
Reduce permit times by 50% by 2011, resulting in $1-
2,000 saved in reduced cost per install for BOTH cities
and solar installers.
Installation Committee
Reduce installation time by 20% by 2011, resulting in
$.50/W saved in reduced fees.
2009 efforts on Permitting Best Practices
May 2009 SolarTech / CalSEIA Summit Goals redux (Still Valid)
• Permitting Committee
– Reduce permit times by 50% by 2011, resulting in $1-2,000 saved in reduced cost per
install for BOTH cities and solar installers.
• Installation Committee
– Reduce installation time by 20% by 2011, resulting in $.50/W saved in reduced fees.

Permitting / Installation Symposium overview (12/3 San Fran)

• Panel 1: "Beyond Fees, Overcoming Challenges for Permitting Adoption“
• Panel 2: "A systems Approach to Installation & Inspection“
• Panel 3: "Off the Shelf Solutions: Streamlined Best Practices for Residential PV"
• Panel 4: “Best In Class: Leading Practices within the Commercial PV Environment”
• " Wrap-Up & Key Takeaways“
– Relative ranking of priorities, “Votes from audience”
– Go Forward and work on….
12/3 Permitting Symposium – Gaps?
Anything missing? What could be done better?
• More info from the building official community on what is needed
from the industry to make their job easier
• Move away faster from antiquated procedures, be willing to change
• Product Certifications
– UL struggles with being continually asked for a definition of the “minimum bar”
– Product companies put pressure to pull that bar down
– Interesting balancing act – concurrently moving forward
– New Product Pipeline – Heads up!
• Literally 1000s of new products in the industry pipeline
• Explosion of innovation
– 2008/2009 UL had 6 engineers in PV six months ago, now 100 PV engineers worldwide
– Gap exists between AHJs, Product pipeline, and “Permitting Readiness”
• Making code change
– Industry needs to attend focus group meetings to change any gaps
– Identifying issues is not enough.
• Need to go where the code officials, inspectors, and AHJ officials go
• Get closer to where decisions are made. Industry is invited
Highest Priority?

Panel 1: Top 3 Initiatives

(Relative % of

Moderator: Jessie Denver, Solar Program Coordinator, City of San Jose

Linking industry and municipalities to remove “us” vs. “them”

UL educating cities on new products 10%

Contractors joining electrical association organizations 20%

Central entity for dissemination for information of municipal rules,

regulations and building codes – one stop shop (including up to 65%
date changes in legislation)

State challenge from Governor to mayors to motivate changing

attitude in jurisdictions so that streamlined permitting becomes a 5%
Highest Priority?

Panel 2: Top 3 Initiatives (Relative % of


Moderator: Doug Eakin, Solar Business Development Manager, Wieland

Electric, SolarTech Installation Committee Chair

Develop best demonstrated practices for roof top 20%


Document uniform inspection standards for

authorities having jurisdiction (JHA) – Engage with 55%
local government to jointly develop standards;

Craft pre-installation checklist as part of

commissioning process for contractors to have on site 25%
to ensure approval on 1st inspection;
Highest Priority?

Panel 3: Top 3 Initiatives

(Relative % of

Moderator: Greg Sellers, President Burnham Energy

Create on-line permitting solution(s)—strong

interest in expediting implementation for all 75%

Integrate system/front and back end to improve

cost and time to market by standardizing
processes and electronic formatting;

Develop guidelines to ensure information packets

are complete before approaching city for a
Highest Priority?

Panel 4: Top 3 Priorities

(Relative % of

Moderator: Marybelle Ang, MPP, Southern California Edison

Focus on project qualification criteria 50%

Build relationship with AHJ “No brainer, go do it”

Cities to provide more guidance on

requirements for permitting approval – 50%
contractors need to submit correct
Going Forward, Top Priorities, all Panels
SolarTech will drive these forward in conjunction with members, partners

Topic Area Priority (qualitative consensus)

"Beyond Fees, Overcoming Challenges Central entity for dissemination for
for Permitting Adoption“ information of municipal rules,
regulations and building codes – one
stop shop (including up to date changes
in legislation)
“A systems Approach to Installation & Document uniform inspection standards
for authorities having jurisdiction (JHA)
– Engage with local government to
jointly develop standards;

“Off the Shelf Solutions: Streamlined Create on-line permitting solution(s)—

Best Practices for Residential PV" strong interest in expediting
implementation for all cities;

“Best In Class: Leading Practices within

Focus on project qualification criteria &
the Commercial PV Environment” Cities to provide more guidance on
requirements for permitting approval –
contractors need to submit correct
SolarTech Permitting Challenge
An Industry Call to Action
Solar Power International 2009, October 27, 2009:
SolarTech challenges industry stakeholders to organize, implement and
demonstrate today’s vision for an online solar permit application and utility
interconnect process by April 2010, at SolarTech’s Annual Summit.

A successful team and demonstration should include the following:

• Two or more independent software firms providing solutions based on the
SolarTech draft specification for online interoperability.

• Partnering with two or more cities or counties in collaboration on implementation

and demonstration as consultants.

• A successful collaboration team will include one or more solar integrators.

Open to all interested software vendors, universities, or private groups.
Follow the progress at
Online Permitting
“Interoperability Standard” elements
Online Permitting
“Interoperability Standard” elements
Goal: Goals and Timeline
1. Integrators/contractors can access permit applications for any city or county
AHJ at anytime, online.
2. An integrated approach across integrators, cities, utilities and rebate
• Call to Action at SPI October 27, 2009
• Requirements, Evaluation Criteria Nov. 13, 2009
• Respond w/ “Intent to participate” Nov. 24, 2009
• Announce Challenge Participants Dec. 3, 2009
Permit Symposium, SFO
• Winning Teams Announced After March 31, 2010
• Public Demonstration Annual SolarTech Summit
April 21-22

Open up the solar market

Open the online permit solutions market
Partner in pioneering the necessary software standards.
Contact Information
Debbie Lee Greg Sellers
Product Manager, SolarTech Permit Committee Chair, SolarTech
1290 Parkmoor Ave. President, Burnham Energy
San Jose, CA 95126
408-655-9130 831-235-3364
for general requests
for downloads and information
to follow the Challenge progress
In 2009 he was Will he “Be Back”
there… in 2010?
Save the Date!
• April 21st & 22nd
• San Ramon, PG&E
conference center
• 2 day event including new
– Day 1: System not Silos”
Industry Collaborative Forum
• Partner: CalSEIA
– Day 2: Accelerating Time to
• Partners: UL, SEMI PV
Thank You!
Doug Payne
Executive Director, SolarTech

• Permitting
• SolarABCs
• SolarTech
• Bay Area C.C.
• Vote Solar
• Sierra Club
Streamlining Solar Permitting
Vote Solar
We’re Bringing Solar to the Mainstream, Join Us!

America's energy problems — from increasing our energy

independence to fighting global warming — will only be solved by a
national transition to renewable energy. Solar energy -clean,
homegrown, and renewable- has the potential to play a large part of
the solution.

Since 2002 Vote Solar has engaged in state, local and federal advocacy
campaigns to remove regulatory barriers and implement the key
policies needed to bring solar to scale. Join our online email action
center today and help bring solar to the mainstream!
We’re Bringing Solar to the Mainstream, Join Us!

Permitting Best Practices
 Fair Flat Fees
 Over-the-Counter Issuance
 Solar ABCs Expedited Permit for PV Systems
 Electronic Forms
 Trained Permitting Staff
 Remove Excessive Reviews
 Reduce Inspection Appointment Windows
3 phases of
1. Collect State Data
Identifying current practices
Help us collect data:

2. Issue State Report

Highlighting champions and laggards
Launched in Arizona, up next - Colorado, Pennsylvania and Oregon…

3. Improve Permitting Practices among Worst Offenders

Working with 2 to 4 cities per state
First target: Phoenix - supporting local advocates and installers to
improve permitting practices.
Vote Solar
We’re Bringing Solar to the Mainstream, Join Us!

Annie Carmichael
Federal Policy Director
Vote Solar