This guide is intended to provide you an overview of the permitting process for installing solar panels on the exterior of your house or duplex, for systems rated less than 10kW. Systems rated 10kW and above must be logged in for plan review and permitting.
Before you start your project, you need to know what regulations apply to your property and what factors may impact your project. You'll need to consider:
Historic Landmark Status
Any project that involves changes to the exterior of landmark structures or properties in historic landmark districts must be reviewed by Landmark Preservation staff before you begin. The appropriate zoning, building, curb cut, or revocable permits needed for the project will be issued only after design review has been completed and the project has been approved. To determine your property’s landmark status, use the DevelopDENVER tool to the right. Then, visit the Design Review web page for more information.
Zoning establishes standards for things such as the size and location of structures and acceptable uses for your property. Before you begin construction, you need to be sure your project is in compliance with the Denver Zoning Code. Use the DevelopDENVER tool to the right to determine the zoning for your property. In the results, click on your zone district for descriptions and definitions; then, click on your neighborhood context for more information on zoning in your area.
NOTE: If your photovoltaic panels are flush-mounted per the definition in Section 13.3 of the Denver Zoning Code, no zoning permit is required.
Denver Building Code provides minimum standards for building in order to safeguard public safety, health and welfare. The permitting and inspection process ensures that all home projects meet these standards and that all dwellings are safe and habitable at the time of construction.
Listed in the order they must be obtained. All permits must be in hand and at site before work may begin.
The above must be in hand before you apply for the following:
For a complete list of required documentation for zoning review, including sample site plans, download the Residential Permitting Guide (PDF).
Sign in online or at the kiosk once for your zoning permit (Commercial Zoning).
Sign in online or at the kiosk once for commercial electrical review (Commercial/Multifamily - Electrical).
Quick Permits may be applied for by email. See www.DenverGov.org/QuickPermits. For same day service, sign in online or at the kiosk once for two Quick Permits at a time.
Zoning and Building permit fees are based on valuation of the work to be completed including the labor and materials. View the permit fee schedules to estimate the fees required for your project. Fees for Solar Panels are capped at $50 for all permits. There are no fees for Landmark review.
Fees can be paid in person at our cashier on the 2nd floor of the Wellington Webb Building. We accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover Card, cash and personal checks at our counter.
To pay by mail, send a check to:
Wellington Webb Municipal Building
201 W. Colfax Ave., 2nd Floor
Denver, Colorado 80202
All approved construction set of documents, permits and inspector signature card are to be available on site upon request.
Typical inspections for installation of solar panels include the following:
NOTE: The inspections listed above may vary depending on the complexity of your project. You will be advised as to which inspections your project requires through the permitting process and by your inspector.
Decide whether you plan to complete the project yourself or hire a licensed contractor to complete the job for you.
Do It Yourself
You may need to pass a Home owners exam to demonstrate proficiency in specific trades in order to get a permit to do the work yourself.
You will also need to meet a set of requirements established by the Denver Building Code and the Building Department Policy ADMIN 131.3 governing homeowner completed work. This policy can be found on our Building Codes, Forms and Policies page.
Use the Contractor license search to see if your contractor has obtained a contractor's license from the City and County of Denver.
To view other considerations, see our Doing the Work Yourself page.
Every project is different. Depending upon the complexity of your project, the permit requirements and inspection process may vary from the information presented in this guide. If you have any questions, please contact us.
Standards That Apply