Power Permits - Solar, Generators, Energy Storage, EV Chargers

The Building Inspection Division is pleased to announce that the following permit types can now be applied for through our online permitting website, the ePermits Center:

  • Roof and Ground Mounted Solar Systems
  • Residential Backup Generator
  • Energy Storage Systems or ESS
  • EV Chargers (not charging stations)
  • Transfer Switch for pre-existing generator
  • Main and Sub Panel upgrades or in kind changeout*
  • Whole Home Electrical Rewiring**

*Note: Main panels upgraded to 325A or above will require a PG&E AIC letter at final county inspection.

**Note: Electrical work other than upgrading existing wiring in a home, such as adding new lighting, receptacles, running electrical lines for new circuits, will require a floor plan and must be applied for through Permits By Email.

Applicants are encouraged to thoroughly read this page to understand what is required for a successful submission. Incomplete applications are the primary cause of delays – please see Common Submittal Errors section at the bottom of this page to learn more about the common mistakes to avoid in submittals.

Applicants may still apply through our Permits By Email option or apply for an ePermit for the above permit scopes and any other permit scopes described below.

How do I apply for an ePermit?

The first step is to register for an account on the ePermits Center. If you are a contractor, you will need to connect your CSLB license to your account and you will be notified by email once the license has been approved. After license approval, create the permit number of the correct permit type and upload all required documents and plans. 

For the project scope below:Apply for this ePermit type:
Residential Roof or Ground Mounted Solar SystemsResidential Solar Photovoltaic
Commercial Roof Mounted Solar SystemsCommercial Roof Mount Photovoltaic
Commercial Ground Mounted Solar SystemsCommercial Ground Mount Photovoltaic
Residential Backup GeneratorResidential Generator
Residential Energy Storage Systems
or ESS
Residential ESS/Battery Backup
Residential EV ChargersResidential Electrical
Residential Transfer SwitchResidential Electrical
Residential Main or Sub Panel ChangeoutResidential Electrical
Residential Electrical RewiringResidential Electrical


Upon successful creation of a permit number, the system will alert the Power Permits team that a permit has been created and staff will conduct an initial review. If the permit meets our minimum submittal guidelines, the permit will undergo the following plan reviews:

  • Planning Review - for certain projects, such as Solar Canopies, ESS racks or other structures being constructed as part of a power permit, the County Planning department may conduct a review.
  • Non-Structural Review – review the site plan and/or roof array plans for parcel information, property lines and setbacks. Confirming the legality of the structure(s) receiving a roof mounted solar array and verifying all fire access pathways and ridge setbacks are drawn to minimum code requirements, where required.
  • Structural Review – review the anchorage and mounting details to confirm minimum code requirements for critical structural load factors.
  • Electrical Review – review the single line diagram and manufacturer’s specifications for confirming minimum code requirements for system components and electrical load factors.

Important Note: new solar projects or the modification to an existing solar system can include new EV chargers and/or new ESS. New backup generators, new ESS, new EV chargers cannot include new or modifications to an existing solar system. These permit types must be created separately. The applicant may, in an interest of saving time, upload the same set of plans to multiple permits created, so long as the scope of each permit references the separate permit numbers. 

For example: an applicant may wish to apply for a new 11 kW, 21 panel roof mounted solar system that includes two 9 kW ESS and a 22 kW backup generator. One set of plans can be submitted to show the entire proposed scope, however, the applicant will need to create a residential solar/PV permit type for the new solar system/ESS and will need to create a residential generator permit type for the generator. The applicant will then upload the same set of plans to each permit and make sure to reference the two permit numbers on at least one scope.

Once the reviews are complete, the permit will be issued after fees are collected. 

Current time for permit issuance from date of successful assignment*: 2 – 4 weeks

Note: a date of assignment is considered the day on which the permit was put into review. Successfully creating a permit number and uploading documents is not considered the day of assignment, especially if plans are found to be incomplete or incorrect upon the initial review. 

Permit Scopes

The Building Inspection division has recently become aware that other agencies or utilities may require permit cards to contain language for the complete solar system/generator/ESS/EV installation. The Power Permits team only verifies the default scope: system size (AC/DC/KW) and the number of panels for solar systems. It is the responsibility of the applicant to list all system components upon creation of the permit. Some applicants are experiencing rejection by the utility provider after the permit has been finalized due to an insufficient scope of work. Please verify with the utility provider or other agencies prior to permit submittal to ascertain the permit scope language they will require for their approval. Permits that receive an approved County final inspection cannot be reprinted, adjusted, modified, updated or unlocked. It is your responsibility as the applicant to verify the description of work you submitted with this permit satisfies any requirements from other agencies and/or utilities. 

If you need to update/adjust your scope, please email the Power Permits team with the changes prior to permit issuance or through subsequent revisions. See Revisions section below for instructions on how to submit revisions.


Requirements for Residential & Commercial Roof Mount Solar Systems

Permit types: BIPVR for residential installations and BIPVC for commercial installations

Solar Plan Requirements:

Systems with arrays that are no more than 10 inches above the roof surface and installed on the load side of the utility equipment distribution are considered flush, roof mounted systems.

At minimum, each solar photovoltaic submission requires: a site plan, an electrical single line diagram (SLD), structural details, manufacturer’s specifications, and the electrical labels page. For a complete list of requirements, the Building Department has created the following guides:

Required files for each submittal:

Each permit created shall have the following documents uploaded immediately upon the successful creation of a solar permit: 

It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure the documents comply with the building department’s guidelines. Permits that do not have documents uploaded will not receive notification other than the initial autoreply alerting the applicant to upload required documents.

NOTE: if plans must be altered and resubmitted due to design changes or as a response to comments from reviewers, the entire plan set will need to be uploaded as one file containing the updated sheets. 

Plan Templates for Residential Roof Mount Systems

For applicants who do not have their own standard plans for systems up to 10kW, we have plan templates available:


Solar Tiles

Photovoltaic projects with Solar tiles will require an additional re-roof permit. Follow the roof mounted solar instructions above as the requirements for solar tiles are the same and submitted the same way. The applicant can choose to create the re-roof permit on the ePermits Center or can submit an application through Permits by Email (for the re-roof permit only).

Please note: Re-roof permits in climate zone 12 will require the additional Title 24 energy form. Re-roof permits are required per structure – if one system of solar tiles will be installed on both a primary residence and a detached garage, for example, two re-roof permits will need to be pulled.


Ground Mounted Systems for Residential or Commercial applications:

Permit types: BIPVR for residential installations and BIPVC for commercial installations

Solar Plan Requirements:

Systems with arrays that are mounted to fixed foundations and installed on the load side of the utility equipment distribution are considered ground mounted systems.

At minimum, each solar ground mounted photovoltaic submission requires: a site plan, an electrical single line diagram (SLD), structural details, manufacturer’s specifications, and the electrical labels page. 

Required files for each ground mounted submittal:

  • Complete set of digital plans - Follow the digital plan formatting requirements section at the end of this page
  • PV System Checklist (PDF)
  • Planning approval is required prior to submittal – please see the Planning Department Considerations section below
  • Sanitary District / Environmental Health Department (septic) approval is required prior to approval


Solar Canopies for Residential or Commercial applications:

Currently solar canopies or systems proposed on new structures cannot be processed through ePermits. 

Please visit our Applying for a Building or Grading Permit page for information on the permit requirements and approvals you will need to have from other agencies prior to submittal as well as the Permits By Email application link.

Required files for each submittal:

  • Complete set of digital plans - Follow the digital plan formatting requirements section at the end of this page
  • PV System Checklist (PDF)
  • Planning approval
  • Sanitary District / Environmental Health Department (septic) approval


Back-Up Generators:

Permit types: BIMIR for residential installations and BIMIC for commercial installations
Video Tutorial: Apply for a Residential Generator Permit

All commercial generator installations require planning approval and sanitary/Environmental Health (septic) approval prior to submittal. Plans submitted without approval stamps from the required agencies will be rejected. For contact information, please see our Planning Considerations section below. For Sanitary Districts or EHS contact information, please see our handout (PDF). Certain residential backup generator installations may require planning and /or sanitary/EHS approval, please see the residential checklist for requirements.

NOTE: Generators installed at Cell Sites must be applied for through our Permits By Email option.

Plan Requirements:

At minimum, each generator submission requires: a site plan, an electrical single line diagram (SLD), structural/mounting details and the manufacturer’s specifications. For a complete list of requirements, the Building Department has created the following checklists:

  1. Residential Back Up Generator Checklist
  2. Commercial Back Up Generator Checklist

 Required files for each submittal:

Each permit created shall have the following documents uploaded immediately upon the successful creation of a generator permit: 

  1. Complete set of digital plans - Follow the digital plan formatting guidelines at the end of this page.
  2. The Generator checklist for your permit type

NOTE: if plans must be altered and resubmitted due to design changes or as a response to comments from reviewers, the entire plan set will need to be uploaded as one file containing the updated sheets. 


Generator Transfer Switches:

Permit types: BIE for residential installations and BIEC for commercial installations

Plan Requirements:

At minimum, each generator transfer switch submission requires: a floor plan, an electrical single line diagram (SLD), and the manufacturer’s specifications. For a complete list of SLD requirements, please see page 3 of the following checklists:

  1. Residential Back Up Generator Checklist
  2. Commercial Back Up Generator Checklist

Required files for each submittal:

Each permit created shall have the following documents uploaded immediately upon the successful creation of a generator permit: 

  1. Complete set of digital plans - Follow the digital plan formatting guidelines at the end of this page.

NOTE: if plans must be altered and resubmitted due to design changes or as a response to comments from reviewers, the entire plan set will need to be uploaded as one file containing the updated sheets. 

 

Energy Storage Systems:

Permit types: BIE for residential installations and BIEC for commercial installations 

Standalone ESS systems are systems that are being newly installed to an existing solar system or other permitted power generating system. The permit covers only the new ESS – adding or removing solar system components will require a new PVR permit of which the ESS can be a part of. 

Plan Requirements:

At minimum, each standalone ESS submission requires: a site plan, an electrical single line diagram (SLD), structural/mounting details and the manufacturer’s specifications. 

Required files for each submittal:

Each permit created shall have the following documents uploaded immediately upon the successful creation of an ESS permit: 

  1. Complete set of digital plans - Follow the digital plan formatting guidelines at the end of this page.

 

EV Chargers:

Permit types: BIE for residential installations and BIEC for commercial installations

EV Chargers are those systems which incorporate a plug-type charger/receptacle. For chargers that are 50A or less, the power permit team does not require plans and the permit can be applied for through ePermits. 

At this time, ePermits cannot accommodate EV Charging Stations. EV Charging station permits must be applied for through our Permits By Email method. Commercial and/or Multi-Family EV Charging Stations will require planning approval and sanitary/EHS approval prior to submittal.

For chargers over 50A:

Plan Requirements:

At minimum, each charger submission requires: a site or floor plan showing the installation location, an electrical single line diagram (SLD), structural/mounting details (if needed) and the manufacturer’s specifications. 

Required files for each submittal:

Each permit created shall have the following documents uploaded immediately upon the successful creation of the EV Charger permit: 

Complete set of digital plans - Follow the digital plan formatting guidelines at the end of this page.


Planning Department Considerations

The unincorporated areas of the county have no limit on kW size and only require planning review for ground mounted systems, systems with solar canopies/structures or systems proposed on structures that may not be legal/permitted. Depending on the size of the generator, planning review may be required. If the project requires planning review, the review will be conducted after the plans have been submitted.

The following incorporated cities will require review for the following prior to permit submittal:

  • City of Clayton: All Commercial projects, ground mounted systems or systems with solar canopies require review. Any residential system that is over 10KW in size. Any system that is not flush mounted (over 10 inches from roof surface). Solar tiles with a re-roof of more than 1000 sq ft (10 squares). Please contact the City of Clayton for more information: 925-673-7300
  • City of Hercules: All commercial projects, ground mounted systems or systems with solar canopies require review. Any system that is not flush mounted (over 10 inches from roof surface). Please contact the City of Hercules for more information925-799-8244
  • City of Lafayette: All commercial projects, ground mounted systems or systems with solar canopies require review. Any system that is not flush mounted (over 10 inches from roof surface). Please contact the City of Lafayette for more information: 925-284-1976
  • Town of Moraga: All Commercial projects, ground mounted systems or systems with solar canopies require review. Any residential system that is over 10KW in size. Any system that is not flush mounted (over 10 inches from roof surface). Solar tiles with a re-roof of more than 1000 sq ft (10 squares). Please contact the Town of Moraga for more information: 925-888-7040
  • City of Orinda: All commercial projects, ground mounted systems or systems with solar canopies require review. Any system that is not flush mounted (over 10 inches from roof surface). Solar tiles with a re-roof of more than 1000 sq ft (10 squares). Please contact the City of Orinda for more information: 925-253-4210


Revisions

For permits that were created through the ePermits Center and are not yet issued, revisions are to be uploaded directly to the permit. The system will alert the power permits team that a revision has been uploaded and they will conduct the initial review.

If time for your project is critical, please be sure to follow the following protocols for revisions:

  • Revisions must be clearly described and clouded/bubbled on the required sheets for the revision.
  • Revised plan sheets must not contain any previous County stamps. 
  • Your revision may require new review and approval from other agencies (Planning Depts.,Public Works, Fire, Sanitary Districts or EHS). If new review is required, please make sure the revised sheets contain these new stamps prior to submittal. Stamps from other agencies do have an expiration date, please contact the agency directly to determine those dates.
  • Only upload the sheets that contain the revision: revisions containing a full plan set will go through all 3 phases of review by default. If the revision is only to the structural, electrical or non-structural reviewers, only provide those plan sheets.
  • Revisions have the same review time as original submittals, please factor this time frame into your project.
  • Do not schedule a final inspection if the project has a revision in review. Revised plans must be on site for the final review. Any project that is finaled prior to the revision’s issuance will be locked and the scope cannot be adjusted. A new permit will need to be issued if the revision’s scope is required for the finaled permit’s scope. Additional fees may apply.

For revision to permits that were created in person:

  • Please complete our Permit Revision Request form and attach your clouded/bubbled revised plans, a detailed description of the revision and the original approved field set of plans.
  • If the original field set is lost or unavailable, please conduct a record research request to retrieve a copy of the original field set.
  • If the research cannot find the original field set, the applicant will need to re-submit the original field set in full along with the revisions. Additional fees will be assessed and a new permit may be issued.


Permit Status Checks

At any time after the permit number is created, the applicant can check the status of their permit on the ePermits Center in real time. 

It is critical that applicant’s respond to plan check comments as soon as possible. Prior to emailing the power permits team or calling our general line to inquire about a solar permit, please check the following:

  • Plans and checklist have been uploaded
  • Plans have been formatted correctly
  • Plans include all required information
  • Checklist is completed and signed appropriately
  • Any required response has been made

The power permit team responds to emails in the order received and due to periodic heavy volumes of permit requests, the team may not be able to respond to your email the same day a request is sent. 

If more than 4 weeks pass and the permit shows no movement, please call our general line and a staff member will assist you. Due to the current volume of permit requests and questions, please leave a message if you reach our voicemail and staff will return your call in 24-48 hours.

 

Parcels with Conditions/Notices

Solar permits cannot be created for parcels that contain an active code enforcement case with a Notice to Comply (NTC). The NTC must be complied and all necessary fees paid prior to any issuance of permits, solar or otherwise, on the parcel. If the applicant needs more information about a parcel with an NTC, please contact the code enforcement officer on the case or call the Code Enforcement Department to learn who the enforcement officer is: 925-655-2710

For historic districts within the unincorporated County, the planning department has a notice that limits the ability to pull permits on parcels without review. Please call our general line or email the solar department if you would like to apply for a solar permit on a parcel located within the historic districts of unincorporated county.

For any other notice or hold that prevents the ability to create a permit, please email us with the parcel number and address you are attempting to apply for a permit.


Expired Permits/Copy of Plans

Permits will expire 365 days from the date of issue without approval of a required inspection or if 180 days lapse between approved required inspections. If the permit expires before work is completed and/or inspected, no additional work shall be performed until a new permit is obtained. Under California Law, uninspected work is a property defect and must be disclosed to the next owner prior to transfer of title.

  • If you would like to renew your expired permit(s), please call our general line at 925-655-2700 or email the power permits team.
  • If you would like to request an extension prior to your date of expiration, please fill out the online permit extension request form. 

Please note: It is the applicant's responsibility to provide a copy of the County approved field set of plans at each inspection. Failure to do so may result in a re-inspection fee. If the original field set is lost or unavailable, please conduct a record research request to retrieve a copy of the original field set.


Common Submittal Errors

The following common errors in permit submittals have been identified by the power permits team as causing the most delays. If time is a critical component of your project, please make sure you do not commit any of the following errors in your submittal: 

  • Incorrectly formatted plans
  • Plans sent in multiple files
  • Plans are secured or password protected due to applicant's engineer stamp/signature
  • Plans missing the required 3.5x6 inch space for County stamps
  • Plans missing clearly labeled fire access pathways and horizontal ridge setbacks
  • Plans missing the Single Line Diagram
  • Plans missing manufacturer’s cut sheets 
  • Plans missing structural details – mounting, anchorage and profile view with dimensions
  • Plans containing images in lieu of drawn plans
  • Plans missing ridge setback square footage calculations
  • Incomplete checklist


Digital Plan Formatting Requirements

  • Provide one multi-page PDF file 
  • Plans must contain scope, property address and the current code cycle
  • 11x17 minimum page size, landscape orientation for residential roof mounted systems, Generators, ESS and EV Chargers
  • 24 x 36 minimum page size, landscape orientation for ground mounted or commercial roof mounted systems
  • Drawings must be generated from drafting software (no scanned files)
  • Drawings must be drawn to scale
  • Each plan page must have an empty column 3.5-inch wide x 6 inches tall on the right side of plan pages to allow for county stamps
  • File must be unsecured to allow for approval stamps and comments
  • File must be named as follows: 123 Street Name – Plans
  • File size maximum is 100MB


  1. Applications & Permits

    Physical Address
    30 Muir Road
    Martinez, CA 94553

    Phone: 925-655-2700
    Fax: 925-655-2744

    Hours

    Monday through Thursday

    7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.


    Friday

    7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.


    We are continuing to offer 100% digital application submittal and no longer accept paper applications or plans.