The City of Portland's Bureau of Development Services (BDS) developed a streamlined permitting process for residential solar energy system installations. The City of Portland has staff at the permitting desk trained as solar experts to assist solar contractors who need help filing their permits in person. Simple residential installations may apply for a combination building and plumbing/electrical permit, and proceed through planning and zoning and plan review process. If the installation complies with all requirements and all fees are paid, the permit will be issued the same day.
Additionally, the permit fees are capped for systems following the prescriptive process. The prescriptive process has specifications for roof structure, roof materials, loading, and panel height. Solar collectors and the underlying structures must be designed and installed in accordance with the Oregon Solar Installation Specialty Code. The Bureau of Development Services has guidelines for both residential and commercial solar energy systems available at the Program Guides web site.