PV Solar Permitting Requirements for Residential/Home in Hawaii (2022)

The Hawaiian Islands are famous for long vacations, joyful beaches, and gorgeous people in the world. Hawaii’s location and climate make it one of the best places to use solar energy to power your home. Unfortunately, many Hawaii residents have trouble getting through all of the red tapes that comes with permitting and installing residential solar panels in Hawaii. If you’re planning on going solar, then read on to learn everything you need to know about solar permitting requirements in Hawaii.

Permit requirements for Roof Top PV

A Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) in Hawaii regulates PV systems installation permits. The DPP requires permits for all PV systems, whether they are grid-tied or off-grid. The requirements for permitting vary based on system size, but all PV systems must be permitted prior to installation.

a)    DPP Permit requirements if Roof structure is verified:

  • Submit an application for Electrical Permit
  • Submit Roof Strength Verification (from a structural engineer) letter

You need to submit an application for an electrical permit along with a roof strength verification certificate from a structural engineer. It verifies that your roof is strong enough to hold the solar system and other components of PV installation. You need to submit this roof inspection letter along with the permit application.

b)    DPP Permit requirements if Roof structure is not verified:

Even if you have never hired a structural engineer or an experienced roofer, there are still ways to evaluate your property for solar suitability.

  • Submit an application for Electrical Permit
  • Submit an application for a Building permit

For residential solar systems, there is a situation when you don’t need a structural engineer to verify your roof structure. If you have an existing building and want to install a PV system on it, then you will require a Building permit as well as an Electrical permit. So you submit an application for both these permits and get them approved by the Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP). An inspection will be done to check your building’s integrity as per the building codes of Hawaii.

Permit requirements For free standing or Ground-Mounted PV:

If you don’t have enough space to mount a solar panel on your roof then ground-mounted installations are best suitable. Ground PV installations still require necessary permits and approvals before proceeding further.

  • Submit an electrical permit to DPP by a licensed electrical contractor
  • Submit a building permit to DPP by an architect or structural engineer

Your electrical contractor (State License Holder) will submit an application for an electrical permit plus an Architect or structural engineer will submit a building permit on your behalf. If they’re not qualified and meet all of the requirements, you won’t be able to get an electrical permit from the authorities.

System Interconnection request:

An endorsement letter from HECO or other information indicating approval for interconnection will be required before DPP will process and issue the Building Permit. It is recommended that you submit this request to Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) as soon as possible after submitting your application with DPP, but no later than 30 days prior to your scheduled inspection date.

Approval from HECO for Permit

Being a homeowner in Hawaii, when you submit an application for issuance of PV solar permit to DDP, Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. (HECO) will have to approve it. Therefore, HECO has to make sure that all requirements and prerequisites are met before giving approval. In case if you do not follow the guidelines provided by them, then HECO can reject your application or ask you to modify it accordingly.

If your application fulfils all requirements, then HECO will approve it and you’ll be notified.