Permits, violations & licenses

Get an Electrical Permit to install solar panels

Service overview

You need an Electrical Permit to install, alter, renew, replace, or repair solar panels. You may also require a separate Building Permit.

The Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) issues Electrical and Building permits to install solar panels.

EZ Permits

Certain solar panel installations are eligible for an EZ permit. You will only require an Electrical Permit and do not require a separate Building Permit.

No plans are required for an EZ permit.

Projects meeting the following criteria are eligible for an EZ permit:

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

 

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).

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 property 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

  • A Zoning Permit may be required for equipment, including support structure, that is not utilized to service buildings on the same lot or does not meet criteria set forth in Section 14-604(7) of the Philadelphia Zoning Code.
  • A separate Building Permit is required for Solar Panel installations with the exception of installations complying with the Solar PV System Standard.
    • You must select the ‘Solar’ permit option on the eCLIPSE permit menu page.
The online option to submit a building permit application for the installation of solar panels is under construction and therefore must be filed in-person until further notice.

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.

Online

You can apply online using eCLIPSE.

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

  • The Electrical permit fee is $25 per $1000 or fraction thereof of project labor and equipment costs. Array and inverter costs are not included in the fee calculation.

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 business days.

  • Fee: $1050
    • $350 is due when you apply. You must pay the remainder once approved.

To apply, fill out an Accelerated Plan Review application and submit with your permit application. Accelerated review fees will not be credited toward your final permit fee.

Payment methods and details

Accepted payment methods

Where Accepted payment
Online through the eCLIPSE application

(There is a $200,000 limit for online payments.)

  • 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 or online using eCLIPSE.

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: same day as you wait.
  • All other applications: within 20 business days.
    • The applicant can accelerate the application for an additional fee. Accelerated applications are reviewed within 5 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. If you submit revisions, the re-review will be subject to standard review times.

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.
The agency must complete an inspection certification.

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

Online

1
Log in to your eCLIPSE account and apply for a permit. Upload all required documents and pay the filing fee.

If applying as a licensed professional or contractor, you must first associate your license or registration with your online account.

  • If you are filing the Electrical permit adhering to the Solar PV System Standard, you must select ‘Comply with EZ standard’ and upload a copy of the signed EZ standard, the PECO interconnection application, and the contract.
2
The application will go to L&I and other City departments for review and approval.
  • The application type determines how long it will take to issue your permit.
    • Applications adhering to the Solar PV System Standard: within 3 business days.
    • All other applications: within 20 business days.
      • The applicant can accelerate the application for an additional fee. Accelerated applications are reviewed within 5 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. If you submit revisions, the re-review will be subject to standard review times.

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

4
Once you are approved, schedule an inspection.

Contact your licensed electrical inspection agency when your contractor is ready to start work.
The agency must complete an inspection certification.

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


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