Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Solar Panels – What You Need to Know

If you are looking to create a more energy-efficient space, than you may be considering installing solar panels.

Solar panels generate electricity and are usually installed on the roof. Only in rare cases, solar panels are installed on the ground. The City of Southlake requires permits from both planning and building inspections before any solar panels are installed.

There are many reasons homeowners and business owners have solar panels installed, the most common reason is to improve the environment and reduce the electric bill.  However, getting solar panels installed is not a turnkey process.

To get started, you must do the following:

  1. First, the applicant can select a contractor to install solar panels. Just be sure they are registered with the city before they install! See our tips on selecting a contractor.
  2. Next, the applicant must apply for a Specific Use Permit through Planning and Development Services. The applicant will have to go through the development process by attending a SPIN Town Hall Forum (which is optional), a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, and two City Council meetings. It is required through Southlake’s zoning ordinance that an applicant receives approval from City Council. The development process allows an opportunity for surrounding neighbors to understand what is being constructed or installed near their property.
  3. If the Specific Use Permit is approved by City Council, the applicant (or contractor for the project) will need to apply for and obtain an electrical permit from our Building Inspections division. Once the permit is obtained, solar panel installation can commence. After installation is completed, a Southlake building inspector will inspect that the solar panel was properly installed for building safety purposes. Undergoing the development process and obtaining the necessary permits ensures that the solar panel is designed for building safety and will be properly installed.

All construction must begin within six months of obtaining these permits. If you have any further questions about solar panels, please the Planning and Development website. For information on applications, fees and submittal schedules, click here.