Permits, violations & licenses

Get a Solar Panel Permit

Service overview

You need a Solar Panel Permit to install, alter, renew, replace, or repair solar panels.

You don’t need a separate building permit if:

  • Solar panels are attached to a one-or-two-family dwelling.
  • The installation complies with the PV System Standard.

You must submit a separate application to PECO for interconnection with the power grid.

The Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) issues solar permits.

Who

Any property owner or their authorized agent can apply for this permit. Authorized agents may include:

  • Licensed electrical contractor.
  • PA design professional.
  • Attorney.
  • Licensed expediter.

Requirements

Permit application

Application must include complete scope of work and current owner information.

  • If the property was recently sold, submit a copy of the settlement sheet or deed with application.
  • You must apply for all permits under the legal address established by the Office of Property Assessment (OPA).
  • If you are filing the application under the Solar PV System Standard, you must note it on the application.

Contractor requirements

A licensed electrical contractor must perform all electrical work. The contractor must:

  • Have an active license.
  • Be current on all City of Philadelphia taxes.
  • Have current insurance on file with L&I.

If anyone other than the electrical contractor applies, the application must be accompanied by a signed statement on the electrical contractor’s letterhead confirming their association with the project.

Third-party inspection services

The owner or the owner’s agent must hire a licensed electrical inspection agency to perform all inspections.

Plan requirements

If your application requires plans, they must follow plan requirements.

Forms and documents

  • A copy of the contract between the owner or owner’s agent and the licensed electrical contractor must be submitted before the permit is issued.
    • You must submit a separate tabulation of array and inverter costs if you don’t want to include these costs in the permit fee calculation.
  • Must submit a copy of the PECO Interconnection Application
  • If the application is filed under the Solar PV System Standard, a copy of the signed standard must be submitted.

Related permits

  • Zoning Permit may be needed for ground-mounted and free-standing installations.
  • A separate Building Permit may be required.
    • Installations for a one-or-two-family dwelling that comply with the Solar PV System Standard do not require a separate Building Permit.

Required pre-approvals

For historic properties

More +

Where and when

In person

Permit and License Center
1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
MSB, Public Service Concourse
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Office hours: 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday

Offices close at noon on the last Wednesday of each month.

Cost

Fee types that may apply

Filing fee

  • One-or-two-family dwellings: $25
  • All other occupancy types: $100

This payment will be credited towards the final permit fee.

This fee is nonrefundable and must be turned in with your application.

Permit fee

  • $200 for solar collection panels and related support structure per building

Surcharge fees

  • City surcharge: $3 per permit
  • State surcharge $4.50 per permit

Record retention fee

  • $4 per plan

Accelerated Plan Review fee (optional)

Applications for new construction that include plans are eligible for expedited review. Accelerated applications are reviewed within 5–10 business days.

  • Fee: $540
  • If your plans require more than four hours to review, you will be charged an additional fee of $135 per hour.

To apply, fill out an Accelerated Plan Review application and submit with your permit application. Amount must be paid when you submit your application and will not be credited toward your final permit fee.

Payment methods and details

Accepted payment methods

Where Accepted payment
Online through the eCLIPSE application
  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.5% surcharge)
In person at the Permit and License Center in the Municipal Services Building
  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.5% surcharge)
In person at the Cashier’s Station in the Municipal Services Building

(Items paid at the Cashier’s Station will be mailed within five business days.)

  • Check
  • Money order
  • Credit card (+2% surcharge)
  • Cash

Checks and money orders

Check requirements
  • Make all checks and money orders payable to the “City of Philadelphia.”
  • The individual or company listed on the check must be listed on the application.
  • Personal checks are accepted.
  • Checks and money orders must have issue dates within 12 months of the transaction.
Reasons your check may be rejected

L&I will not accept checks that are missing depository information or are:

  • Unsigned.
  • Expired.
  • Post-dated.
  • Starter checks without account info

Returned payment policy

If your check is returned unpaid for insufficient or uncollected funds:

  1. You authorize the City of Philadelphia or its agent to make a one-time electronic fund transfer from your account to collect a fee of $20.
  2. The City of Philadelphia or its agent may re-present your check electronically to your depository institution for payment.

How

You can apply for this permit in person at the Permit and License Center. 

In person

1
Get any required pre-approvals before submitting your application to L&I.
2
Bring your completed application, application materials, and payment to the Permit and License Center.

The application type determines how long it will take to issue your permit.

  • Applications adhering to the Solar PV System Standard: within 5 business days
  • Other applications for a one-or-two family dwelling: within 15 business days
  • All other applications: within 20 business days
3
If approved, the applicant will receive notice to pay the balance.

If not approved, the applicant will receive an email stating what is missing or required.

Before a permit may be issued, the contractor must be identified and confirm association with the project.

4
Before you begin work, you must schedule an inspection.

Contact your licensed electrical inspection agency when your contractor is ready to start work.

A Certificate of Approval will be issued upon successful completion of all required inspections


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