Rooftop Solar Purchasing Options in Arlington
Capital Area Solar Switch
The 2023 solar co-op program, called Capital Area Solar Switch and managed by Solar United Neighbors, is now open to all Arlington residents. Through the co-op, you can receive a discount offer for a rooftop solar install by a local vendor, have access to customer service support, and get help and resources to add electric vehicle chargers or battery storage systems to your home. After receiving a personal recommendation on the website, homeowners will need to pay a refundable $150 deposit if they are still interested and wish to begin working with the selected vendor. If the homeowner decides not to move forward, this deposit is refundable at any point prior to confirming a final agreement with the installer.
Signing up for the co-op provides you with an installation offer and does not require you to go forward with a solar install or contract. Registration for the current round of the Capital Area Solar Switch is open until August 30, 2023.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CAPITAL AREA SOLAR SWITCH PROGRAM
Solarize is another option to buying rooftop solar. The 2023 program launches on July 5, 2023 and is open through the end of August. The program is managed by the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) and provides a streamlined process, including a competitive installer bidding process and ongoing customer support. After signing up, residents can expect a rooftop solar assessment, introduction to a vetted installer, an on-site inspection, and a custom proposal to go solar. There is no requirement to move forward with installation until after a contract is signed.
LEARN MORE ABOUT SOLARIZE NOVA
The County is providing the above for informational purposes only. If a resident wants to join a co-op program, it is their responsibility to understand the risks of joining such a program. Furthermore, the County is not in any partnership with the above entities but rather is providing the information for residents to review if they are interested. If there are any issues related to the installation of the solar system, the resident is responsible for contacting the contractor or solar company to discuss issues resolutions. Finally, if a resident decides to sign-up for a co-op program, the resident understands that the County bears no responsibility for any damage of any kind.
Please note this is not a comprehensive list of rooftop solar options available to Arlington County residents and should only be used as a resource to examine pathways to go solar. It is up to individual residents to review all options available to them, including working directly with a solar installation company.
Getting a Solar Permit in Arlington
Installing a solar photovoltaic (PV) system in Arlington County requires obtaining permits from the County’s Inspection Services Division (ISD). ISD is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday, except County holidays.
This website contains the minimum information and details required to be submitted when applying for a permit to install a solar PV system. Please note that in some circumstances inspectors may require additional information. This is a basic pre-submittal guide intended to expedite the permitting process by minimizing the number of required revisions.
Our local utility, Dominion Energy, has its own process and this site does not explain its requirements in full. Contact Dominion for what it requires.
- For single family or townhome applications, the installer must have proper state electrical licensing.
- For all other applications, the installer must have proper electrical and building licensing.
- The installer must send a completed Distributed Generation (DG) Interconnection Agreement to Dominion Energy to connect the solar system to the grid. The agreement form must be signed by the customer/owner, and ideally would be submitted prior to installation.
- Installer submits the permit application in person at 2100 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 1000, Arlington, VA. For commercial buildings, complete project construction documents are required. Include proper permit fees per the County’s current Fee Schedule.
- Upon successful plan review, Inspections staff will issue the necessary permit(s). Click here to check your permit status online.
- Inspections staff will make final inspection after project completion.
- Upon passing Arlington County’s inspection, call Dominion Energy at 1-866-DOM-HELP for inspection and meter exchange forms.
- Installer makes commissioning appointment with a Dominion Energy representative to obtain final power utility inspection and schedule meter exchange.
- Project is commissioned and begins generating electricity.
Pre-Submittal Permit Checklist for Solar PV System
- For single family homes and townhomes: Filled out electrical permit for project and appropriate fees submitted. The following must be provided on site for the inspector: an electrical wiring diagram, panel attachment details and manufacturer specifications for the entire PV system. Note for townhomes, no part of the PV system may be within 4 feet of a firewall that does not have a parapet extending above the roof covering by at least 30 inches. However, if the PV system is class A fire rated, serving as a roof covering and does not penetrate the roof within 4 feet of a fire wall, it may be installed within 4 feet of a fire wall.
- For commercial buildings: Filled out electrical and building permit with structural package for project and appropriate fees submitted. The construction documents must include an electrical wiring diagram, panel attachment details, manufacturer specifications for the entire PV system, the fire class rating of the PV panel system (Class A, B or C), and roof plan of PV system showing roof access and pathways (§605.11.3.3.1 and §605.11.3.3.2 of the 2012 Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code.)
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do I find the required permit forms?
- Refer to application forms here for Residential Permits (for single-family homes and townhomes): Electrical Permit.
- Refer to application forms here for Commercial Permits (for all other applications): Electrical Permit, Building Permit with structural construction documents package.
Are there any tax exemptions, incentives or rebates available?
How long does it take to obtain a permit?
- Residential projects (single family homes) are generally issued on the same day they are requested.
How do I schedule an appointment for inspection?
What about solar projects on historic properties?
- Click here for information or contact the County’s Department of Planning and Community Development at 703-746-4666 for guidance.
Here are some suggested practices that may help make solar easier, faster, cheaper:
- Submit Distributed Generation/Net Metering forms ahead of project completion to accelerate utility approvals.
- Minimize installer/contractor visits by planning ahead and coordinating same day inspections; such as with the County’s final inspection and then the utility interconnection commissioning appointment.
- Have ready to sign at County final inspection and required utility forms/electric inspection certificates.
- Per electric code, permanently and clearly label all required devices, including the AC disconnect near the meter to improve visibility and safety.
- Consider rooftop solar when getting a new roof. Have a feasibility study completed for both.