Understand Local Building Codes Prior to Starting Your Solar Installation
Before installing a solar system on your home it is very important to find out about any building regulations that may apply. Unfortunately, our Federal government does not manage the building codes that apply to the installation of solar electric systems, so regulations vary from region to region. In nearly all cases solar panel regulations are established and enforced by local government, usually at the county level. However, when problems with building code violations and unpermitted solar systems do crop up they almost invariably have to do with the same few issues: setback violations (systems that are too close to a neighbors house, or the road), improper wiring, or the solar panels beings installed on improperly built (and therefore unsafe) frames.
Be Sure to Get Permits for your Solar Installation
It is important to check on building codes in your area and have your solar system permitted for a few reasons.
- Building codes exist in order to make sure that new construction is safe. The incorporation of solar panels into your home�s energy system involves fairly complex wiring and it is important to make sure that this is all done properly and the system is safe.
- Future problems can arise when unpermitted construction is done, especially when it is visible from the outside. If solar panels are installed without a permit and a neighbor reports the new construction the owner of the solar electric system may be forced to tear down the panels or be subject to fines.
- You may not be able to legally sell your home if it has an unpermitted solar panel system or one that is not up to building regulations.
Your Solar Contractor is Best Prepared to Deal with the Permitting Process
For these reasons it is usually easiest to have solar systems installed professionally by a solar system contractor. A licensed solar contractor will be aware and knowledgeable of building codes in your area. Also, they will generally be prepared to take care of the permitting process before construction begins, eliminating a lot of the hassle for the homeowner.
Only Permitted Solar Systems are Eligible for Government Incentives
Finally, when a solar system is properly installed and permitted the homeowner will be eligible for financial incentives. The state of California has some of the most generous financial incentives for homeowners including:
- property taxes eliminated on permitted solar systems
- the state will pay the interest on a loan used for the sake of installing solar panels.
With these solar incentives it is entirely possible to lower the month-to-month cost of homeownership as the savings in energy costs can more than offset the monthly payment for the solar panels.