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The U.S. Department of Energy and the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center are excited to announce that a new, modernized DSIRE is under construction. The new version of DSIRE will offer significant improvements over the current version, including expanded data accessibility and an array of new tools for site users. The new DSIRE site will be available in December 2014. Staff are currently working hard on the new version of DSIRE but are also maintaining the content of the current version of DSIRE. Thank you for your continued support and patience during this transition. We hope you are as excited for December as we are!

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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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City of San Jose - Photovoltaic Permit Requirements   

Last DSIRE Review: 07/09/2012
Program Overview:
State: California
Incentive Type: Solar/Wind Permitting Standards
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Photovoltaics
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Residential, Construction, Installer/Contractor, Multi-Family Residential, Duplex
Web Site:
Authority 1:
City of San Jose Building Division Informational Handout

Building, Planning and Electrical Permits are required for Photovoltiac (PV) systems installed in San Jose.  In most cases, PV systems must also undergo a Building Plan Review and an Electrical Plan Review.  Building Plan Reviews are not required for installations that meet all of the following criteria:

1. Total panel weight (including frame) is not greater than 5 lbs. per square foot.
2. Maximum concentrated load at each point of support does not exceed 40 lbs.
3. Maximum height above roof surface does not exceed 18 inches.
4. PV panels are installed on the rooftop
5. PV panels are not ballasted

If a Building Plan Review is required, a plan must be submitted showing existing roof framing and any proposed alteration along with panel support and bracing systems. For installations that do not require a Building Plan Review, a site plan showing the building's footprint and location of PV panels is required when applying for a building permit. 

Electrical Plan Review for photovoltaic systems is required for all multi-family, commercial and industrial installations. Electrical Plan Review for single family and duplex installations will be offered if requested by the applicant or may be required by the Building Official based on complexity of installation.

The City does not collect the building permit tax (associated with most construction projects) on the construction or installation of solar energy generation equipment. If the project is larger than just the solar installation, regular permitting charges will apply to the rest of the project. Planning Site Adjustment Permits are required for commercial or industrial buildings and for residential buildings over two units. Single family residence and duplex do not require planning review. Planning adjustment permits can be obtained from planning staff assigned to the Building Division or from Planning Division.

  Mary Tucker
City of San Jose
Environmental Services Department
200 East Santa Clara Street, 10th Floor
San Jose, CA 95113-1905
Phone: (408) 975-2581
Fax: (408) 292-6213
Web Site:
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.