It is worthwhile to look into solar panel installation in Pasadena for your house if you are looking to lower or eliminate your cost of Electricity for decades to come (who wouldn’t want that?). Despite the fact that installing solar panels for your house is beneficial, you must do your due diligence to work with the right solar installer who complies with all the local and national codes and regulations. Hence, it is highly recommended to work with an installer who is very familiar with your local jurisdiction to take care of the process for you in a timely manner. Moreover, your solar installer must be able to deliver a customized installation for your house because your home is unique and your needs are specific to you. Choosing the right solar installer to install your solar power system is a complex, confusing and time consuming process because there are many moving parts involved in the process such as:

  1. Your jurisdiction
  2. Your roof type and its age
  3. Your house’s annual sun hours
  4. Your available roof space suitable for solar panels
  5. Your main Electric Panel amperage and type (top, center and bottom fed)
  6. Your financial situation and solar financing options tailored to your needs and financial situation
  7. Your solar installation method (Roof, Ground or Port Mount)
  8. This list goes on as there are over 30 variables involved

Due to the complexity of it all, working with licensed and experienced Energy Advisors, who have helped many homeowners before, can completely ease the process. Moreover, it is important to work with an EAH Energy Advisor who has gained League Status. EAH Energy Advisors are freelance advisors who are not tied to or biased towards any particular solar installer, therefore they will help you work with the right one for you. They make it happen by using a Proprietary Software from Energy Advisor Hub that generates multiple competitive quotes from top rated solar installers who have been fully vetted. Then, you can pick the best option for yourself without any pressure.

Now, let’s get into some details regarding City of Pasadena Solar Installation Permit.

According to Pasadena Water and Power website, as of 01/01/2018, PWP will no longer offer any incentives for solar installations. Although incentives are no longer offered, installation of a solar power system is still beneficial and PWP staff will continue to assist customers who are interested in installing solar photovoltaic systems in their home or business.

Currently, PWP electric customers who have a solar PV system and a solar meter (provided by PWP) are eligible to receive compensation for any “net surplus electricity generated by their system.

You should consider the following items before starting the process:

  1. Eligibility: If you are an Electric Customer of PWP, you are eligible for the PSI program.
  1. A PSI application approval must be obtained from PWP before applying for a building permit for a solar installation. A separate application is required for each PWP electric account/service/meter.
  2. All PV systems must meet the technical requirements listed in Public Resource Code Section 25782 and described in the next section below, “Technical Requirements.”

The following are some of the technical requirements according to PWP website:

  1. Solar System Size, Location, and Ownership Requirements
  • System Size: The solar energy system must be between 1kW and 1,000 kW CEC-AC and intended primarily to offset part or all of the customer’s own electricity demand. Systems should be sized to produce no more than 100% of the customer’s average annual energy consumption as shown on the PWP billing record for the three years previous to the application submittal. If the customer’s account has less than a three year history, the average will be calculated with available data.
  • New or Expanded Facility: Applications with new or expanded sites with no electric bill history or where the existing electric bill does not reflect the customer’s expected expanded consumption, must include an estimate of the expected expanded consumption. Suggested methods of demonstrating load growth include building simulation program reports such as eQUEST, EnergyPro, and DOE-2; Title 24 energy modeling report (including ECON-1 sheet). The PSI Program Manager will request copies of building permits for the new construction or expansion.
  • Added PV Capacity: Solar systems installed under previous Solar Program qualify for additional solar capacity under PSI. New application is required and current PSI requirements will apply.
  • Location: The PV system must be permanently installed on the same premises where the customer’s electricity demand is located.
  • Interconnection: The PV system must be connected to PWP’s electrical distribution grid.
  • Ownership: The customer may lease the PV system or purchase its output from a third-party PV system owner/operator/installer.
  1. Interconnection to the Electric Utility Distribution System

Eligible solar electric generating energy systems must be permanently interconnected to the electrical distribution grid of the utility serving the customer’s electrical load. Portable systems are not eligible. The system interconnection must comply with applicable electrical codes and utility interconnection requirements.

  1. Solar Energy System Components and Warranty

All components in the solar energy system must be new and unused and must not have been previously been placed in service in any other location or for any other application.

All major solar energy system components, including PV modules, inverters, and meters must be included on the CEC’s Eligible Equipment Lists.

All solar energy systems must have a minimum 10-year warranty provided in combination by the manufacturer and installer to protect the purchaser against defective workmanship, system or component breakdown, or degradation in electrical output of more than fifteen percent from their originally rated electrical output during the ten-year period.

  1. Installation

The solar energy system must be installed in conformance with the manufacturer’s specifications and in compliance with all applicable electrical and building code standards.

For information about PWP’s rules and regulations for electrical design and installation, please read about Regulation 21.  For installations larger than 10 kW AC, rules and regulations governing Regulation 23 (Distributed Generation Interconnection Requirements) may apply.

All installations are required to obtain the appropriate building permits from Department of Planning and Development located at 175 N. Garfield Ave, Pasadena CA 91101. For more information, please call at 626-744-6646 or visit the Permit Center

  1. Utility AC Manual Disconnect

PWP requires an AC Utility Manual Disconnect Switch with visible break switch contacts that are lockable in the open position within eight (8) feet from the Customer Service Equipment that functions as the Point of Connection to the electric utility.

The Utility AC Manual Disconnect Switch shall be readily accessible to the Utility at all times and located immediately adjacent to the Customer Service Equipment that functions as the Point of Connection to the electric utility.

The purpose of the Utility AC Manual Disconnect Switch is to provide a separation point between the solar system and the Utility Electric Distribution System. The Utility AC Manual Disconnect Switch is to be used to isolate the PV system ONLY during operational conditions in order to safeguard utility personnel.

The Utility AC Manual Disconnect Switch should be installed upstream to the solar system and it must be able to electrically disconnect the entire solar system, including the performance meter. AC Manual Disconnect Switch must be permanently marked to identify it as a Utility AC Manual Disconnect Switch.

If the location of the AC Manual Disconnect Switch cannot be installed within eight (8) feet from the Point of Connection to the electric utility, its location must be approved at the discretion of the Utility. All questions regarding the location of the Utility AC Manual Disconnect will be directed to the Utility Service Planning Department at 626.744.4495.

  1. Meter Requirements

The PSI Program requires accurate energy production meters for all installations. Accurate measurement of solar energy output is of paramount importance to ensure optimum value for solar owners.

PWP requires a performance meter (Utility Grade Single Socket (SS) 4 clip) in all solar installations. Performance meter must be supplied and installed by the solar contractor/installer.

Meters and service panels must meet all local building and utility codes.

PWP will replace the existing utility meter with a solar net meter after the system passes PWP Field Inspection and before the system is authorized to connect to the grid at no cost to the customer.

  1. Maximizing Solar Generation

All solar installations are required to submit shading analysis reports generated by a shading analysis tool such as the Solar Pathfinder or the SolmetricEye

For all solar systems, the applicant is required to input monthly shade impact results from a shading study conducted at the proposed system site. These inputs are used as monthly derate factors (100% = no shading, 0% = total shading) to adjust the PV Watts output for shading. The shade analysis tool must be specific to the location, azimuth and tilt of the system being measured and must correct for magnetic declination.

For rectangular areas, a minimum of four (4) shading measurements must be taken, one at each corner. For irregular areas, a shading measurement is taken at each corner.

PWP performs a final inspection and commissioning for all solar installations in order to verify that the project is installed as represented in the application and conforms to the eligibility criteria of the PSI Program.

  1. Energy Efficiency Audits

An Energy Efficiency Audit is required prior to installing your solar power system.

City PowerClerk

Please be advised that your installer must be registered with City PowerClerk to be able to initiate and complete the process for you. The following links will provide you with additional information regarding PWP Fire Department Guideline for solar installation in Pasadena and Building solar guidelines:

PWP Fire Department Guideline

Building Solar Guidelines

If you need to speak with an experienced, licensed and unbiased Energy Advisor click go to Solar Yellow Pages by clicking HERE.

EAH League Solar Advisors have access to UFB Proposal tool which generates multiple competitive quotes from top rated solar installers who install solar panels in the City of Pasadena. It is always good to know your options before making a decision. Go solar with confidence.