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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 Community Development (DCD) 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, the solar project may be eligible for a residential 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 DCD.


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:


Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services

(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


Milwaukee Shines Solar Electric Permitting Process Guide

City of Milwaukee Permit Page


Milwaukee Shines Solar Financing with Summit Credit Union

Me2 Commercial PACE Financing


Focus on Energy - list of installers

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


Focus on Energy - Incentives

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


We Energies - Interconnection information

Looking to Install Solar?