Solar Permits Issued by the County Surge

Man installing solar panels Image Credit: shutterstock

The County of San Diego is on pace to have one of its busiest years for solar rooftop permits, and it could get busier as a 30% federal tax break to help offset the costs ends in 2019.

Through April, the 10th month of the fiscal year that started July 1, 2018 and ends June 30, the Department of Planning and Development Services has issued more than 5,700 residential solar permits. At that pace, the County would issue about 6,900 residential solar permits by the end of the fiscal year, a 25% increase over the previous fiscal year.

A 30% Solar Investment Tax Credit from the federal government has helped spur solar growth, but it will decrease over the next four years until it is eliminated for homeowners in 2022 and dropped to 10% for businesses. Despite the federal change, the County will continue to waive building permit and plan check fees for solar projects. Permits for solar projects can be done online and in-person, and the permits are typically processed within 24 hours.

Solar rooftops systems support the County’s sustainability goal that seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and one strategy of the County’s Climate Action Plan is to increase the amount of renewable energy generated at existing homes. Proponents of solar rooftop systems say they generate clean, renewable energy, reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, can help consumers become self-sufficient and reduce their electric bills. County officials said more than 38,500 homes in unincorporated communities—roughly 22%—have solar rooftops.

In addition, the County helps support California’s 100 Percent Clean Energy Act, which became law in January, by continuing to waive fees. The act requires the state to get 60% of its total energy from renewable energy by 2030, and 100% by 2045. Renewable energy sources include solar, wind and hydropower.

If you’re considering rooftop solar on your home or business, you can get more information about solar permitting from the County of San Diego Planning and Development Services.


Gig Conaughton is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact