Local Requirements for Solar
Athens-Clarke County works to facilitate the private use of solar, while respecting the community's values.
A building permit is required for all solar energy system installations. Depending on whether your project is a solar electric system, or a solar water heating system, an electrical, building or plumbing permits will also be required.
For residential properties located outside historic districts, Athens-Clarke County offers an expedited solar permitting process for small-scale systems (less than or equal to 25 kW), excluding ground-mounted systems. Our solar expedited permit process applies to residential installations under 25kW and does not require structures to undergo an engineering assessment.
Athens-Clarke County Expedited Permit Process for Small-Scale PV Systems:
1. Complete the permit application for residential solar panel installations under 25kW (not in historic districts and not ground-mounted systems). Be sure both the Structural Review and Electrical Review of PV System sections are completed.
2. Submit the application along with an electrical permit application and zoning permit application to the Building Permits and Inspections Department. All applications must be submitted in-person. The Department is located at 120 W Dougherty St, Athens, GA 30601. Office hours are Monday through Friday between 8:00am and 5:00pm. A representative can be reached via phone at (706) 613-3520.
3. Solar permits are usually reviewed and approved in less than 1 day. Projects in a historic district are expected to take longer. Once approved, ACC will email you with the approved application.
4. Once the solar system has been installed, call the ACC Building Permits and Inspections Department to schedule an inspection (contact information above) Athens. In most cases, they will be checking electrical systems and fire access. The turnaround time for inspections is 72 hours or less. Be sure to have the approved application and permit present at the jobsite.
The permitting process varies for solar systems above 25kW. Contact the Building Permits and Inspections Department for further information. Typically, residential systems will fall under the 25kW threshold.