The City and County of Denver was designated the first "Solar Friendly Community" in the nation based upon its streamlined permitting process.
Denver provides same-day permit review for most solar panel projects. Electrical, Plumbing, and Zoning Permits* are required for photovoltaic (PV) systems installed in the city of Denver, although more complex engineering projects may still be required to go through the Plan Review process.
To obtain Zoning Permits for flush mounted solar panels, applicants must have roof plan showing that the solar panels are installed parallel and within one foot of the roof surface they are placed on and at least 2 foot dimension between the solar panels and the edge of the roof. All calculations performed by a Colorado registered professional engineer shall be submitted to the Division to substantiate that the structure can support the design loads specified. Details and calculations for the panel connections to the roof shall be included. Zoning Permit applications for all other solar panel systems require a site plan, roof concept plan, and elevation plans.
Applicants for an Electrical Permit for solar PV systems are required to provide two sets of plans including one-line diagrams, supporting calculations, and equipment catalog sheets.
Zoning and Building Permit fees are based on valuation of the work to be completed including the labor and materials. Although fees for solar panels are capped at $50 for all permits, total construction fee schedules should be verified with the city of Denver on a case-by-case basis. When Same Day Review is required for the #1R permit, a "walk through" fee of $100 may be charged in addition to the building permit fees, depending on the valuation of the project.
*A Landmark Certificate of Appropriateness is also required if the PV system is being installed in a Landmark District or on a designated landmark structure. The approval typically takes one to three weeks. More complex projects or projects requiring Landmark Preservation Commission or Lower Downtown Design Review Board approval will take longer.