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Solar Permitting Information

Please Note: All City of Milwaukee permits are now done through our LMS (online) system! Please visit the website for more info and to create an account: City of Milwaukee Land Management System

Residential Permit Process

Standard Permit Process

All solar projects in the City of Milwaukee are required to have:

  • Electrical or plumbing permit
  • Building permit

All permits must be approved and issued before starting the solar installation.

The following is the permitting process:

  1. Installer gathers necessary materials to support the permit application. Please see the specific installer credentials required for Solar Electric (PV) or Solar Hot Water, below.
  2. Installer, with proper credentials, pulls the electric/plumbing permit and building permit.
  3. Submit electric or plumbing permit via LMS.
  4. Submit building permit via LMS.
  5. Installer pays applicable permit fees.
  6. The Department of Neighborhood Services (DNS) Development Center reviews the permits and supporting documents for completeness and accuracy. Review time varies based on the project and completeness of submitted materials. Electric/plumbing permit approval typically takes 1-3 days, while building permit approval can take 4-8 weeks.
  7. The installer must meet with the Building Inspector for Plan Review to obtain the building permit.
  8. The Building Inspector must issue a Plan Review Letter of Approval before work can begin on the project.
  9. All permits are issued and work can begin.

Expedited Permit Process

In most cases, residential solar projects may be eligible for an expedited solar permit. If the project meets the following criteria, the expedited permit can be used which takes the place of the electric and building permits.

  • Solar electric (PV) system of less than 10 kilowatts
  • 1 or 2 family dwelling
  • Solar panels are flush-mounted on the roof
  • Total load is less than 5 pounds per square foot

Expedited solar permits cost $70 (with a $5 processing fee). Any additional service upgrades, outlets or switches or feeder/sub feeder changes will cost additional. Permit applications must include (1) a line diagram and (2) spec sheets.

Please use this worksheet to determine if the planned project meets the requirements. If so, the expedited permit can be used. Click here for a paper copy of the permit that you can use as reference: expedited permit.

Please note: The expedited solar permits must be completed via the City's LMS (online) website.  The permit should be completed and submitted by the installer to DNS.

 

Commercial Permit Process

Commercial Solar Array Installation Submittal Requirements below:

  1. (1 copy) Certificate of Supervision by a WI registered design professional. https://city.milwaukee.gov/DNS/planning/EAppCertSup.pdf
     
  2. (1 copy) Information sheet from WI registered design professional. (Stamped, signed and dated)
     
    • Provide a description of the building including Class of Construction, Roof Fire Classification and number of stories.
    •  Provide documentation verifying roof structure is capable of supporting new loads. (Dead load, Snow Load, Wind Load)
  3. (3 copies) Stamped roof plan drawings showing layout, panels, inverters including quantity. Include section showing array and roof curb, labeling parts and attachment hardware.
     
  4. (1 copy) Panel specifications with fire rating and UL1703 testing verification.

You must have:

  • A separate permit for plumbing (for solar thermal)
  • A separate permit for electrical (for solar PV)

How To Schedule an Appointment at the Development Center

Plan reviews and permit issuance can be offered via appointment. Call 414-286-8210 to schedule.

Plan reviews and permit issuance can also be offered via our Commercial Walk-in Service (first come, first served) at our Development Center whic his located at 809 N Broadway, 1st floor. Please note that that our walk-in desk service limits permits to one per customer.
 

*New Commercial Solar Permit Fees!*

As part of the City of Milwaukee's work as a Department of Energy SolSmart City, we worked with the Department of Neighborhood Services to reduce and simplify Milwaukee's commercial solar permit fees in order to encourage more renewable energy installations in the City.

The new fees were adopted by the Milwaukee Common Council on June 20, 2018 and are as follows:

Plan Examination.
Solar PV The fee for the examination of commercial solar PV building plans shall be $250 per system.

Building Permits.
There shall be no building permit fee for the installation of a solar PV system on one- or 2-family dwellings not required to undergo structural reinforcement or alterations.

The building permit fees for installations of all other solar PVs shall be as follows:
0-20 kilowatts: $70.
20.1-35 kilowatts: $100.
35.1-50 kilowatts: $150.
50.1-75 kilowatts: $200.
75.1-100 kilowatts: $250.
Over 100 kilowatts: $300.

Electrical Permits.
The electrical permit fees for Solar PV shall be as follows:
0-20 kilowatts: $70.
20.1-35 kilowatts: $100.
35.1-50 kilowatts: $150.
50.1-75 kilowatts: $200.
75.1-100 kilowatts: $250
Over 100 kilowatts: $300

 

 

Historic Properties

Special considerations are required for placement of solar installations on historic properties.

Solar can be installed on historic properties in the City of Milwaukee but installers must fill out the Historic Preservation Certificate of Appropriateness worksheet.

 

Installer Credentials


Solar Electric Installers are required to have these credentials for installations in the City of Milwaukee:

Solar Hot Water installers are required to have these credentials for installations in the City of Milwaukee:

Contact:
 

Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services
414-286-8210


solar@milwaukee.gov


(414) 286-5593

Solar Information & Resources

Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) - Education

We Energies - Information

U.S Department of Energy - Renewable energy technology

NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Pracitioners) - "Gold Standard" for renewable energy certification

Site Assessments

NABCEP List of Certified Solar Professionals

MREA - Site Assessor List

Permits

Milwaukee Shines Solar Electric Permitting Process Guide

City of Milwaukee Permit Page

Financing

Milwaukee Shines Solar Financing with Summit Credit Union

Me2 Commercial PACE Financing

Installers

Focus on Energy - list of installers

NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Pracitioners) - "Gold Standard" for renewable energy certification

Incentives

Focus on Energy - Incentives

DSIREUSA (Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency) - List of incentives

Interconnection

We Energies - Interconnection information

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