Accessory Solar Energy Systems - Permitting & Inspections

Accessory Solar Energy Systems

The Town of Boone encourages accessory solar energy systems and offers online or traditional paper applications for all accessory solar energy systems. The Town is committed to providing a timely review of complete accessory solar energy system applications. Best efforts are made to review complete applications within the times prescribed below.   Note: These review times are typical and not guaranteed.  

  • Residential Projects: 3 business days
  • Commercial Projects: 10 business days

Please use the tabs below to access "Permitting and Inspections" and "Resources." The "Permitting and Inspections" tab details accessory solar energy systems' permitting and inspection process. The "Resources" tab provides information on installers, local community solar programs, financing options/incentives, solar calculators, and more.

  1. Permitting and Inspections
  2. Resources
  3. Town of Boone Designated "SolSmart Gold"
  4. In the News: Town of Boone SolSmart Designation

Accessory Solar Energy Systems

An accessory solar energy system is designed to meet or offset the energy demands of the principal use rather than for the purpose of supplying or distributing electrical energy to users, a customer, or customers. Accessory solar energy systems are permissible in all zoning districts as an accessory use subject to UDO Subsection 15.64 Solar Energy Systems, Accessory (A-28) requirements. The information below intends to provide transparent and well-defined information to minimize the number of required revisions, improve permit application quality, and accelerate the application and review process. 

The information featured on this page is also provided in the Accessory Solar Energy Systems Permitting Checklist.

Permit Required

Please note a permit must be obtained before starting any work.   Within the Town of Boone, this single permit will cover the review of the building, electrical, fire (commercial projects only), and zoning.  

Additional Documents Required (Digital)

  • Construction Drawings   

Plans shall show P.V. array configuration, wiring system, overcurrent protection, inverter, disconnects, required signage, A.C. connection to the building, and attachment detail for roof-mounted or footing details for ground-mounted. Additionally, commercial rooftop solar projects shall show fire access and pathways.

Note: A North Carolina Registered Engineer will be required to seal the structural design at the time of application if:  the weight of the P.V. system exceeds 4 pounds per square foot (4 psf); the roof already has more than a single layer of asphalt shingles; the roofing material is something other than asphalt shingles or metal

  • Specification Sheets & Installation Manuals

Provide one set of specification sheets and manuals for all manufactured components including, but not limited to, P.V. modules, inverter(s), combiner box, disconnects, and mounting system.

  • Site Plan (Ground-Mounted Accessory Solar Energy Systems Only)

Site plan demonstrating the location of the ground-mounted accessory solar energy system and the system's distance to all property lines and street rights-of-way.   Please identify any required landscape street yards and buffers.

Note:   All ground-mounted solar energy systems shall meet a street setback requirement of fifteen feet (15') from the street right-of-way line and seven feet (7') from any interior lot line and are not allowed within any required landscape buffer.

Zoning Requirements

  • Rooftop Solar Energy Systems: The highest point of the system shall be permitted to exceed the district height limit of up to fifteen feet (15') above the rooftop to which it is attached.   Roof-mounted solar energy systems are not subject to the limitations in UDO Subsection 14.03.07(G).
  • Ground-mounted Solar Energy Systems: shall meet the building street setback requirement of fifteen feet (15') from the street right-of-way line and seven feet (7') from any interior lot line; maximum lot coverage shall not exceed ten percent (10%) of the lot; must be clearly subordinate to the principal structure in all dimensional aspects and shall not exceed fifteen feet (15') in height; applicant allowed five percent (5%) of the additional impervious surface before additional stormwater requirements, outlined in UDO Article 21 Stormwater Management, are required; are not allowed within any easement unless expressly allowed or within any required landscape buffer.

Permit Fees

There are no fees associated with installing an accessory solar energy system to facilitate online permitting with existing systems.

Contractor Requirements

Licensed electrical contractor per the applicable classification.

Note: N.C. General Statutes 87-43 states that no person, partnership, firm, or corporation shall engage, or offer to engage, in the business of electrical contracting within the State of North Carolina without having received a license in the applicable classification described in G.S. 87-43.3 from the State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors. Electrical contracting shall be defined as engaging or offering to engage in the business of installing, maintaining, altering, or repairing any electrical work, wiring, devices, appliances, or equipment.

Submittal

Online: The Town accepts applications for accessory solar energy systems online utilizing the following application link:  

Accessory Solar Energy System Application; or

Paper Submittal: The Town also accepts paper applications submitted through the office for those not wishing to use the online application portal. Please use the following forms as applicable: 

Accessory Solar Energy System Permit Application (PDF)

Contractor Regulation Sheet (PDF)

Owner Exemption Affidavit (PDF)

Note:   Commercial project installations must comply with the 2018 N.C. Building Code and the 2018 N.C. Fire Code. Residential project installation installations must comply with the 2018 Residential Code.

Review Time

The Town of Boone is committed to providing a timely review of accessory solar energy system applications. Best efforts are made to review complete applications within the times prescribed below. 

  • Residential Projects: 3 business days
  • Commercial Projects: 10 business days

Note: These review times are typical and not guaranteed. The Town of Boone has a staff of dedicated individuals, but workloads, vacations, and sick leave can cause unforeseen delays that may impact turnaround time. Certain circumstances can prolong the permit turnaround time, including if the applicant does not submit all required information, the contractor applying for the permit is not licensed, and the equipment is not fully listed.

Permit Status

To check your permit status, please call (828-268-6960) or email (planning@townofboone.net) the Town of Boone Planning and Inspections Department.

Permit Expiration

All permits expire six (6) months after the date of issue. Failure to start the work authorized by a license within this six-month period renders the permit invalid, and a new permit must be obtained. Once work begins, noticeable progress must continue until completion.

Inspection Process

To schedule an inspection, call 828-268-6960. Typically, inspections are completed within 24 hours. If you wish to schedule a specific time with the Inspector, please get in touch with the Inspector on the morning of your requested inspection.    Generally, only a final inspection is required for accessory solar energy systems where building and electrical finals are completed.

Note 1: Any engineered system will require a signed and sealed report from the NC-licensed engineer. The report shall attest to the code compliance of the installation of the structural support system. This report shall be made available before or at the final inspection.

Note 2: Once final inspections are completed, the Inspector turns over to the appropriate power provider (New River Light & Power or Blue Ridge Energy) a power connection slip notifying the power provider that the system has passed all required inspections.  

Contact Your Local Utility Company 

Please contact and coordinate with your local utility company at the time of permitting to assist with installing your solar energy system. Your utility provider will explain how your solar energy system will be connected to your current energy setup. 

New River Light Power (NRLP) customers installing a solar energy system must contact and fill out the Interconnection Request form, linked here