What potential solar homeowners in D.C. should know about DCRA solar permitting

Many solar homeowners are all too aware of the waiting game between when the contract for your new solar system is signed and when the system is installed and interconnected. During this wait, solar installers in D.C. are working diligently through a permitting process to get their solar installation plans approved by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA).

The DCRA is the branch within D.C. government that regulates construction and businesses in the District through permit issuing and construction plan reviews. They issue business licenses and professional licenses for the District, and they review all proposed construction projects to ensure that they are up to the established building codes and zoning regulations.

The building codes and zoning regulations enforced by the DCRA are continuously updated. New solar permitting guidelines were issued in a report released in August 2018, which included updated zoning requirements and construction code reviews. For each proposal, a solar installer will have to prepare documents to be submitted for a zoning review, electrical engineering review, fire engineering review, and structural engineering review. This process is typically handled entirely by the installer and can take up to 30 days. With each iteration of the solar permitting guidelines the DCRA is working to streamline the process.

Once the solar contractor’s plan set is stamped for approval by the DCRA, they are free to install your system. After installation, the DCRA will conduct inspections to make sure the installers work aligns with the approved plans. These inspection records will be submitted to Pepco as part two of the interconnection application process, which the installer will simultaneously be working on.

Through the permit review and follow up inspection process, the DCRA is working protect homeowners and ensure that they are receiving a quality installation. If you want to dig into the details of this process more feel free to visit www.buildgreendc.org/solar.

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