Do You Need a Permit to Install Solar Panels in Nevada?

Discover if you need solar panel permits! Learn about solar permits and regulations for hassle-free installation. Get answers now!

William Cormier Avatar
A cartoon house with solar panels, a solar net meter, and sun.

Permitting. While it’s not the most thrilling of all solar-related topics, it’s still a very important one when it comes to getting your rooftop solar power system installed and operating.

Today, we’re going to examine what all that entails in Sun Source USA’s home state of Nevada!

Do you need a permit to install solar panels in Nevada? While the answer is ultimately “yes, you do need a permit,” the process can vary depending on various factors, including your specific jurisdiction, be it city, county, or other governing bodies.

Understanding the solar panel permit requirements and regulations is crucial for ensuring a smooth and hassle-free installation process. In this article, we’ll delve into the intricacies of solar permits in Nevada, shedding light on what you need to know to embark on your solar journey confidently.

From navigating local regulations to understanding permit requirements, we’ll provide you with the essential information to facilitate the seamless integration of solar power into your home.

We’ll also provide you with one can’t-miss tip for avoiding any and all solar permitting headaches altogether! You don’t want to miss it!

Solar Panel Permit Requirements in Nevada

As we mentioned previously, the governing body to which you’ll be submitting your documentation – along with the documentation they’ll require — will vary based on the location of your residence, so let’s start there.

Jurisdiction

Perhaps the most complicated part of the solar permitting process is determining the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) for your address. Once you know the answer to that question, the next steps are much more straightforward. But it’s not always as clear as knowing which city or county in which you reside.

Southern Nevada

Let’s take a look at Las Vegas on the following map, for example.

A map of Las Vegas the local jurisdictions of City of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, and Clark County highlighted.

Depending on where you live, you may have one of 4 different AHJs:

  • City of Las Vegas (Blue),
  • North Las Vegas (Orange),
  • Henderson (Yellow), or
  • Clark County (No Color).

If you live in Las Vegas, you can check your address here.

Northern Nevada

The same goes for Northern Nevadans. The submittal process for solar permitting varies greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Let’s take the area around Reno and Sparks for example. Depending on your exact address, your AHJ could be:

  • the City of Reno (Purple),
  • City of Sparks (Green), or
  • Washoe County (Yellow).
A map of Reno and Sparks with the local jurisdictions highlighted.

And then you have the surrounding areas with cities like Fallon, Fernley, and Carson City, along with Storey, Nye, and Lyon Counties, all with unique processes and requirements for solar permitting.

So, no matter which part of Nevada you find yourself in, step one of installing your solar power system is figuring out your authority having jurisdiction (AHJ). Only after you’ve acquired that information will you know the specific solar panel permit requirements for that address.

Plans & Supporting Documents

Once you have your AHJ figured out, you’ll have a better idea about which documents are needed, and in what working order, to receive your solar permits. While each jurisdiction has specific requirements, they usually want some combination of the design plans and supporting documents highlighted below.

  • Cover Page– AHJs that require a cover page often ask for an index listing each page in the plan set, the scope of work, and other general information like contact info.
  • Site Plan– Site plans show the property on which the construction will take place and the proposed solar system installation. Some AHJs require more detailed site plans than others. Common features of site plans are property lines, public and private driveways, existing and proposed structures, the layout of the proposed modules, and required fire access and pathways.
  • Framing Details– These plans include all solar racking connections to the roof system. Some AHJs may require structural plans to be stamped by the engineer.
  • Electrical Plan– AHJs always ask for some kind of electrical plan before granting a permit for solar. These detail the types and sizes of wiring used in the installation and the ampacity, de-rating, and load applied to the conductors. The documents will usually include a 3-line diagram with the location of all equipment including Ban AC disconnect.
  • Structural Calculations – Many jurisdictions also ask for a stamped verification letter from an engineer verifying that the existing roof structure is capable of supporting the weight of the new solar energy system.
  • Manufacturer Equipment Specifications – Another common inclusion is manufacturer equipment specs – one page for each piece of equipment used in the installation.

So, for example, when submitting plans to the City of Las Vegas, the AHJ wants signed copies of the electrical plan and electrical load calculation along with basic info about the job description and the contractor installing the solar power system. It’s all very simple and straightforward.

Meanwhile, if the City of Reno is your AHJ, you’ll need to prepare a packet of almost every document included in the above list.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Solar Permit?

If you can’t tell by now, jurisdiction means everything when trying to hypothesize how long something like solar permitting might take or what all it will require. Nevertheless, we’ve done some digging and found some decent estimations for you.

Typically, Southern Nevada AHJs provide permits to install solar faster than their Northern counterparts – assuming we’re talking about an average-sized system that doesn’t require any special circumstances like ground mounts. In that case, we often get the solar permit anywhere from a few days after submittal up to two weeks later.

In Northern Nevada, for your typical, normal-sized system, average wait times are between 2-4 weeks on average. Again, larger systems and those requiring special installations may take a bit longer.

Fun Fact: Sometimes solar permits get slowed down by factors completely beyond anyone’s control. For example, when Formula One racing came to Las Vegas, the City of Las Vegas was so bogged down with the event, that issuing permits for solar installs came to a standstill. Fortunately, that only lasted for a couple of weeks!

The Solar Permitting Cheat Code

I’m sure all this talk about finding jurisdictions and compiling packets of detailed documents can look very intimidating and overwhelming. Well, guess what? You’re in luck because you don’t have to worry about doing any of it!

As long as you use a licensed solar contractor like Sun Source USA, this entire process from start to finish will be taken care of for you! All you have to do is sit back and wait for the okay to flip the switch on your new solar power system.

Get a free quote today!

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