Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.

This webpage provides the latest resources and information available to help residents, businesses, installers and local governments expand the local solar market. The District is well positioned for explosive solar market growth due to a suite of aggressive renewable energy goals and supportive policies. 

Transitioning to solar power not only provides environmental benefits like enhanced air quality, but it also delivers a host of economic benefits from green job creation and market development. Below, there is a direct link to the City's interactive policy roadmap designed to increase local solar installations by making it easier and more cost-effective to ‘go solar’. 

Community Profile

632,323 population
20% renewables by 2020
68 square miles

Residential Solar Potential

Upgrade to LEADER plan to display your community's solar potential.


The Solar Roadmap team has worked in close coordination with the District to develop a customized, interactive solar roadmap containing guidance on how to transform the local solar market. Each recommendation in the roadmap is supported with relevant reports, case studies, examples, and templates to support local and regional implementation efforts.

These roadmap goals are derived from attributes of successful solar communities nationwide, along with input from industry experts. Each goal represents a step toward making solar easier and more cost effective for all residents within the community. Your specific roadmap has been customized using the attributes that are relevant at the city-level in the local solar market.

Expand each focus area below to show its related goals, and click the 'Take Action' button to access the relevant resources designed to help you achieve these goals.

showPermitting Process

Current Progress:
5 of 14 goals achieved

[P1] Use a Standard Permit Application Form Specific to PV Systems(18)

There is a standard building permit application form; solar specific form coming soon

Consider adopting a standard application form specific to solar PV for qualifying projects <10kW.

[P2] Make Permit Application Form Available Online(176)

Building permit application forms are available online, though no PV specific forms currently in use

City currently at market best practice! When standard solar application form is adopted per goal [P1], make the form available online.

[P3] Allow Electronic Submittal of Application Form(87)

Building permit application forms can be submitted online, though no PV specific forms in use

City currently at market best practice! When standard solar application form is adopted per goal [P1], make online submittal an option.

[P4] Require only 1 Permit Application Submittal(164)

Must submit 2 separate permit applications for solar PV

Require only 1 application submittal for solar PV projects.

[P5] Post Permit and Inspection Process Information and Fee Schedules Online(80)

Comprehensive solar information document coming soon

Post information on the solar permitting and inspection process online in separate document on DCRA website prior to starting an application. Information should include the process steps, timelines, fees, point of contact, and any other pertinent information.

[P6] Streamline Permit Processing Time and Allow Expedited Process for Qualifying Projects(75)

Under 3 business days for residential and 5 days for commercial. OTC avail for qualifying projects.

City currently at market best practice!

[P7] Base Residential Permit Fee on Actual Cost to Administer(85)

Solar permit fee is a percentage of system valuation, but moving to stepped, flat fee

Move to flat fee <$250 or base fee on cost recovery.

[P8] Base Commercial Permit Fee on Actual Cost to Administer(55)

Solar permit fee is a percentage of system valuation, but moving to stepped, flat fee

Move to flat fee <$500 or base fee on cost recovery.

[P9] Minimize Inspection Turnaround Time(147)

Inspections typically are performed between 3-5 business days after request.

Perform inspection within 2 business days of request.

[P10] Offer Convenient Inspection Scheduling(94)

Appointment window provided morning of inspection in 2 hour window.

City currently at best practice. Consider providing appointment window earlier than the day of inspection.

[P11] Require only 1 Inspection Visit(82)

Only 1 permit inspection required by DCRA

City currently at market best practice!

[P12] Adopt an Inspection Checklist(21)

Standard solar PV inspection checklist will be available in new solar information packet

Utilize standard regional PV inspection checklist.

[P13] Allow a Structural Exemption for Qualifying Systems(41)

Approval from a Structural Professional Engineer is required on all systems.

For qualifying residential systems meeting certain criteria, allow an exemption from structural analysis or structural PE stamp requirements.

[P14] Understand New Solar-Specific Building, Electrical, and Fire Codes(82)

Currently going through rewrite and considering incorporating solar

Be aware of and consider accepting new solar standards from most recent code cycles

showPlanning & Zoning

Current Progress:
2 of 6 goals achieved

[Z1] Pursue Protection for Solar Rights and Access(72)

No specific law in place that protects solar rights of District property owners.

Consider introducing a bill that would establish the protection of property owners' right to install solar systems and have unobstructed access to direct sunlight.

[Z2] Promote Solar Ready Construction via Ordinances or Building Codes(15)

No solar-friendly building standards are in place for new construction.

Explore creation of municipal ordinances which require new homes and buildings to be built solar-ready

[Z4] Incorporate Solar Priorities into Comprehensive or Energy Action Plans(66)

Solar priorities will be incorporated into forthcoming comprehensive energy plan

Include solar development goals in long term planning documents.

[Z5] Update Zoning Standards and Review for Solar Installations(92)

No current references to solar in DC zoning regulations.

Consider adopting zoning codes that provide specific guidance on the integration of solar-friendly design review standards.

[Z6] Update Zoning Standards and Review for Solar Installations - Historic and Viewshed Areas(26)

Solar zoning standards included in solar guidance document

City currently at market best practice!

[Z7] Limit Impact of Restrictive Private Covenants(81)

The City does not have ordinances that create a barrier to solar.

City currently at best practice.

showFinancing Options

Current Progress:
4 of 5 goals achieved

[F1] Support Statewide Efforts to Allow Third-Party Solar Financing, Including Solar PPAs and Leases(16)

Solar PPAs and leases are legal and supported in the District.

City currently at market best practice!

[F4] Support Statewide Efforts to Allow Community Shared Solar Projects(3)

The Community Renewables Act was passed in 2013.

City currently at market best practice!

[F5a] Explore Implementation of Local PACE Financing Pilot Program (73)

Established DC PACE Commercial Program.

City currently at market best practice!

[F6] Encourage Local Financial Stakeholders to Establish New Solar Loan Programs(63)

Residential and commercial solar loan programs available in the District are not posted online.

Encourage local financial institutions to establish loan programs for solar energy systems.

[F7] Promote Availability of Existing Solar Finance Options and Evaluation Tools(38)

District's Department of Environment offers resources via EnergySmart DC webpage.

DDOE launched the DC Solar Map in December 2013: http://en.mapdwell.com/dc

City currently at best practice!

showSolar Market Development

Current Progress:
4 of 5 goals achieved

[M1] Support Aggregate Procurement Program for Residential Sector(40)

DC SUN organizes neighborhood solar cooperatives to implement residential bulk purchases.

City currently at best practice.

[M3] Explore Implementation of Collaborative Procurement Program for Municipal Facilities and Schools(38)

DC Department of General Services is aggregating municipal facilities for solar PV deployment.

City currently at market best practice!

[M6] Explore Installing Solar at Municipal Facilities, Including Landfill and Water Treatment Facilities(62)

DC Water is exploring solar viability at water treatment plant

City currently at market best practice!

[M7] Publicize Solar Workforce Development Resources and Industry Training Tools(21)

No training resources exist for the benefit of the solar industry.

Consolidate regional standards and best practices, provide online as a resource to the installer community, and organize an outreach/training event to generate awareness and understanding across the installer community.

[M8] Provide Solar Educational Resources to Constituents(77)

City has various platforms for engaging the public to build awareness about the benefits of solar

City is at current best practice. Resources can be accessed at http://ddoe.dc.gov/service/green-energy-dc.