Solar Licensing Unveiled – What’s Required by Law

Modern graphic in black, white, and indigo of two males shaking hands across a table in agreement

As the world embraces renewable energy, solar power is a key player. But understanding the legal requirements for solar licensing can be overwhelming. In this article, we break down what is needed by law to harness rooftop solar energy responsibly. From permits to local regulations, we provide essential insights for homeowners embarking on their solar journey.

Do You Need a License to Install Solar Panels?

In most states and cities, obtaining a license to install solar panels is required. The specifics vary depending on location, but professionals in the field are expected to hold appropriate certifications and licenses.  


These requirements ensure installations meet safety standards and adhere to relevant building codes. Additionally, licensing often involves demonstrating proficiency in electrical work and specialization in the intricacies of solar panel installation. While the process may be complex, it protects consumers and the integrity of solar energy systems. It is crucial to research and comply with the licensing regulations in your area before starting any solar panel installation project.

Modern graphic in black, white, and indigo of two males sitting across the table from each other, signing paperwork

What is a Solar License?

A solar license refers to a certification homeowners or solar panel companies obtain to complete solar installations. This license demonstrates the holder has the necessary knowledge, skills, and qualifications to work with rooftop Photovoltaic (PV) systems safely and effectively. The regulations and procedures for solar licensing are consistently changing as solar technology develops, securing those with licenses stay up to date on the safest, most efficient way to install solar panels. At Blue Raven Solar, our licensed installers are well versed in solar technology.

What Types of Solar Licenses are There?

There are a few types of licenses associated with solar installations. A few common ones include:


  • General Contractor License: Like a solar license, a general contractor license is obtained from a government office and states the licensed contractor has the education and skills necessary to complete the construction project. Typically, these are needed to apply for a building permit. 
  • Electrical Contractor License: To apply for the necessary electrical permit, solar installations also require an electrical contractor license. These licenses certify the ability to perform electrical work in a building, or in this case, to wire solar panels together in a home. The appropriate Electrical Contractor license for solar installations can vary depending on the project’s size and complexity. In general, Class B or Class C licenses are often suitable for most residential and small to medium-sized commercial solar installations. These classes typically cover a broad range of electrical work, including the wiring and connection of solar panels to electrical systems.
Modern graphic in black, white, and indigo of two individuals in hard hats and safety vests pointing to three clipboard style graphics

Other licenses that may be necessary are:


  • Limited Engineering License: Some jurisdictions may require a limited engineering license for certain aspects of solar installations, especially if they involve structural or design considerations. This license ensures that individuals or firms have the necessary engineering expertise to assess structural integrity, perform load calculations, or make modifications to existing structures to accommodate solar panels safely and effectively. 
  • Business Licenses: In addition to individual licenses for contractors and engineers, businesses involved in solar installations may need to obtain specific business licenses or permits to operate legally. These licenses vary depending on the type of business entity (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation) and the location of operations. Business licenses typically demonstrate compliance with local regulations, tax obligations, and other legal requirements governing commercial activities. 


By obtaining and maintaining these various licenses and permits, individuals and businesses involved in solar installations can ensure compliance with relevant regulations, demonstrate competence in their respective fields, and operate legally within their jurisdictions. 

Is There a Basic Solar Permit?

Many cities and states offer basic solar permits for residential solar installations. These permits cover standard installations that comply with local building codes and regulations. 


The requirements for obtaining a basic solar permit involve submitting detailed plans and documentation of the proposed solar installation, including information about equipment specifications, electrical wiring diagrams, structural details, and safety measures. Additionally, applicants may need to pay a permit fee and undergo an inspection process by the city to ensure compliance with relevant regulations. When you work with Blue Raven Solar, we handle all licensing and permitting. 


Basic solar permits streamline the process for homeowners and businesses looking to install solar energy systems by providing a standardized framework for approval. However, for more complex or large-scale solar projects, additional permits and approvals may be required. If you choose to install them on your own, it is essential to consult with local authorities or building departments to understand the specific permit requirements and procedures applicable to your solar installation project. 

What are the Other Requirements for Solar Installation?

The requirements for solar panel installations are different depending on the city, county, and state. While several places mandate electrical permits, others require a building permit specifically for solar panels. Certain cities may have a designated permit for solar panels. All solar installations must adhere to the National Electrical Code and any pertinent local regulations.

Does My Location Matter?

Location is a large factor when applying for solar panel licensing. Each state, city, and county vary on what is required when it comes to solar licensing due to a mix of legal, economic, and environmental factors at both state and local levels. This means those in the solar industry must understand and follow a range of rules and standards to stay compliant. 


Some examples of differences include North Carolina, which requires a state level electrical contractor license, but no other registration or licensing required in most jurisdictions. This is the opposite of Illinois and Indiana, which are states that do not license electrical trade at the state level. Instead, Blue Raven Solar applies for electrical licensing at the city and/or county level.

Modern graphic in black, white, and indigo of three individuals in a group with a "certificate" sign in the middle and skyscraper graphic in the foreground

How Do I Apply for a Solar Panel Permit?

Solar panel permitting can be completed by the homeowner or the solar panel installation company – depending on the route the homeowner decides to take when installing a rooftop solar panel system. A benefit of selecting Blue Raven Solar is we handle the installation process from start to finish – including permitting, which is typically the longest part of the solar process. We know the details and how to apply, including how to work with your state, city, county, etc. to get the correct permits. 


To apply for a solar permit, complete the following steps: 


  1. Complete Licensing: After the final design is approved, it is time to begin licensing. These licenses are needed to get the correct permits and complete the installation, so it must be done before the permitting process begins.  
  2. Research Local Requirements: Start by researching the rules and regulations for solar installations in your area. This includes zoning laws, building codes, utility regulations, and any special requirements from your city or county government. Keep in mind each area may have different rules about how big your system can be, where it can go, and what technical specifications it needs to meet. 
  3. Design Your Solar System: After understanding local rules, collaborate with a certified solar installer or engineer to plan your solar design and setup. This includes deciding where to place panels, choosing the right equipment, sizing the system to match your energy needs, and making it follow local rules and building codes. 
  4. Complete Permit Application: Get the permit application forms from your local building department. Fill them out completely and accurately, including all the necessary details about your solar project, such as property information, system design, equipment specs, wiring diagrams, and any other necessary documents. 
  5. Submit Permit Application: Once you finish filling out the permit application, send it to the right place, usually the local building department. Remember to include any necessary fees and supporting documents. The process might be different depending on where you reside, so follow the instructions carefully. 
  6. Review Process: After you submit your permit application, the permitting authority will review it. Inspectors and officials will check if your proposed solar installation follows all the rules and safety standards. They might ask for more details or changes to your plans, if necessary. 
  7. Permit Approval: If your application passes the review and meets all requirements, the permitting authority will approve your permit. You will get official confirmation of approval, which may include any conditions or restrictions for your solar project. 
  8. Installation: Once you have the approved permit, you can start installing your solar energy system. Coordinate with your chosen solar installer to schedule the installation, ensuring every aspect of the installation is done according to the approved plans and meets local regulations. 
  9. Inspection: After the solar system installation is finished, it must be inspected. Inspections are done to verify compliance with codes, standards, and safety requirements. 
  10. Final Approval: Once the inspection is successfully completed, the permitting authority will grant final approval for your solar installation project. This confirms the system has been installed properly and meets all relevant regulations. You will then receive official documentation or a certificate of completion, signaling your solar system is ready to be used and will start generating clean, renewable energy. 


Some states, like Colorado and Idaho, allow homeowners to perform electrical work on their own homes without a license, but in most cases a permit is still required to install rooftop solar panels. Customers interested in do-it-yourself (DIY) installation projects should check with their local area officials and regulations to see what is required for their home.  

How Long is the Licensing or Permitting Process?

Solar licensing and permitting typically take around 4-6 weeks. Because the process is so complex with multiple parties included and needed for approval, it can sometimes take longer for people who are unfamiliar with the process.  


The solar licensing and permitting process takes a significant amount of time due to several reasons. Navigating through a complex array of regulations, including building codes, zoning laws, utility regulations, and environmental requirements, can be time-consuming. Additionally, bureaucratic procedures involved in permit processing, such as filling out paperwork, submitting applications, waiting for reviews, scheduling inspections, and obtaining approvals, contribute to delays. In areas with high demand for solar installations, backlogs or waitlists for permit processing and inspections are common. 


When you partner with Blue Raven Solar on your solar installation project, we handle all permitting and licensing; therefore, you can experience an efficient and thorough licensing process with less stress.

Modern graphic in black, white, and indigo of two males shaking hands across a table in agreement

Looking for a Licensed Solar Installer? Here’s What to Look for:

Choosing the right solar installer is crucial for a smooth and successful transition to solar energy. With multiple options available, you should research and vet potential companies to find one that meets your energy needs. Here are some tips and tricks associated to helping you find a licensed solar installer who can deliver exceptional results and guide you throughout the solar installation process with confidence: 


  1. Check Their Social Media: Review the solar installer’s social media profiles. Are they active, engaging with their audience and sharing valuable content? Pay attention to any negative comments or reviews left unanswered, as this could indicate poor customer service or lack of communication.  
  2. System Leasing: Consider different ways to own solar panels, like buying them outright, leasing, or entering a power purchase agreement (PPA). Each choice has advantages and disadvantages regarding initial costs, savings over time, and who owns the solar panel equipment. The best solar companies will help you own your system and own your power. 
  3. Evaluate Google Reviews: Use Google Reviews or other similar online platforms to check out solar installers in your area. Past customers’ reviews can tell you a lot about a solar installer’s reliability, work quality, customer service, and overall satisfaction. Look at both positive and negative reviews to get a complete picture. Ask yourself questions like what is the company’s average rating? Or are their negative reviews resolved?  
  4. Ask Around: You might be surprised how many of your neighbors have gone solar. Ask friends, family, neighbors, or coworkers who have installed solar panels for recommendations. Their firsthand experiences with specific installers can provide valuable insights. Inquire about their overall satisfaction, how the installation went, and any issues they faced. 
  5. Request More Information: If a company can provide you with a quote or additional information on the next steps, you can be confident in their processes and practices. You can also check their licenses with the city and state you live in and ask them for a certificate to prove their license is valid.

Why You Should Partner with Blue Raven Solar When Going Solar

We are a comprehensive solar panel installation company, guiding you through every stage of the process. From initial consultation to final setup, we want you to have a seamless experience. We are also completely licensed to install solar panels, simplifying the process even more. 


If we are not already licensed in an area, we are notified as soon as the design is signed and work to obtain the license as quickly as possible. We strive to obtain the license before the project reaches the permitting stage. It usually takes 1-3 weeks for a license to be issued, depending on the jurisdiction’s license approval turnaround. 


Embarking on a solar energy journey requires careful consideration and research for a successful and satisfying experience. From understanding the various ownership models available to thoroughly vetting potential solar installers, each step plays a crucial role in the process. By exploring different ownership options, utilizing online resources for reviews, and seeking recommendations from trusted sources, individuals can make informed decisions when choosing a licensed solar installer.


The goal is to find a reliable and reputable installer who can deliver high-quality work, excellent customer service, and long-term satisfaction. With the right installer and ownership model in place, embracing solar energy becomes not just an investment in renewable power but also a step towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future. Find out how you can start saving money and the planet with solar energy today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I install solar panels without a permit?

No, you cannot install solar panels without a permit. Some cities and states allow you to do electrical work in your own home without a license, but a permit will still be required. In most areas, installing solar panels without the required permits is illegal and can result in fines, penalties, or legal action. Solar permits are required for solar installations to comply with building codes and safety regulations. Additionally, installing solar panels without permits may void warranties and insurance coverage, and it can create complications if you decide to sell your property in the future.

Do you need a building permit for solar panels?

In many areas, yes, you will need a building permit for solar panel installations. The specific requirements may vary, including your location and local regulations. They may also involve inspections to verify the installation meets all necessary requirements. Check with your local government or building department to understand the permit requirements for solar panel installations and compliance with all applicable regulations.

How much do solar panel permits cost?

The cost of a solar permit varies depending on location, the size of the solar energy system, and any additional requirements or fees imposed by your local government or building department. In some areas, solar panel permits may be inexpensive or free, while in others, they can cost several hundred dollars or more. An average fee is around $300-$500. 


Typically, permit fees are based on the size or capacity of the solar energy system being installed, with larger systems requiring higher permit fees. Additionally, some jurisdictions may charge flat fees for solar permits, while others may calculate fees based on a percentage of the total project cost.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Should I Lease, or Buy?

Definitely buy your solar system, and we can tell you why.



"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Request a Text Message

"*" indicates required fields