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Solar Construction Permitting Standards

General Public/Consumer
Local Government
Savings Category 
Solar Water Heat
Program Info
Program Type 
Solar/Wind Permitting Standards
Colorado Energy Office

Owners of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and solar water heating systems in Colorado are required to obtain a building permit before their systems may be installed. Permits are handled at the local level and awarded by counties and municipalities. Traditionally, counties and municipalities have been free to assign their own fees for a permit. These fees can vary broadly in size across jurisdictions and in some cases, can be large enough to potentially discourage the installation of solar devices.

[ Senate Bill 117], signed in May 2008, created a statewide cap for permit fees for active solar energy devices. for systems up to 2 MW-DC, counties and municipalities can charge no more than the lesser of the local government's actual cost to issue a permit, or $500 for a residential application or $1,000 for a nonresidential application. For systems 2 MW-DC or larger, the local government can charge no more than what it actual cost the government to issue the permit. City and county permits combined may be larger than these limits, but cannot separately exceed the limits.

Originally scheduled to expire on July 1, 2011, [ HB 1199] of 2011 extended the expiration date to July 1, 2018. HB 1199 also applied these same fee restrictions to agencies, institutions, authorities, and political subdivisions of the state.