Land Development Services

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our offices are open to the public by appointment only from 9 a.m. - noon. Regular hours for calls and emails are 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 9:15 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Friday.

703-324-1780
TTY 711

12055 Government Center Pkwy
Fairfax, VA 22035

Bill Hicks,
Director

RESIDENTIAL SOLAR PANELS

solar panels

This information is the most common for how to obtain the necessary permits for your project and is not representative of all the conditions you may encounter.

Permits and Fees

You will be required to obtain a residential addition building permit and an electric permit.

Fees vary depending on the scope of your project; most solar permit fees are waived. Access the fee schedule by visiting our website.

Permit Process

Follow the steps below to obtain the necessary approvals and permits for your project. Vienna and Clifton residents require additional approvals from their respective towns. You may obtain the status of your permit application or obtain the status of your plan review, if applicable, at any time online.

  • Step 1) Permit Application

    Permit Application

    Obtain permits online using FIDO. If you are a first-time user, you must first follow the prompts to create an account. Once you are logged into FIDO, apply for a residential addition building permit. Additional steps are required for your ePlan upload process. Once the application is complete, you will be invited by email to upload your required documents to ProjectDox for submission to the county.

     
  • Step 2) Fees

    Fees

    Fees vary depending on the scope of your project; use the online fee estimator to help determine your costs.

     
  • Step 3) County Review

    County Review

    County staff from the Permit Application Center will review your package for completeness and compliance with the building code and county ordinances. You will be notified of any deficiencies. Plan corrections, resubmission fees and additional supporting documents may be required.

    Residential Fast Track

    Residential Fast Track allows customers with one-story structures less than 500 square feet to apply for a permit under the fast track process to receive expedited reviews. See our operational status page for more information on review times.

  • Step 4) Permit Issuance

    Permit Issuance

    Once all county reviews are approved and outstanding fees have been paid, you can access your approved plans in ProjectDox and approved permit in FIDO. The permit must be posted at the job site; the approved plans and any required manufacturer’s installation instructions must be printed in full size and available to the inspector.

  • Step 4) Inspections

    Inspections

    You are required to obtain inspections from the county for your project. The county must be notified when the stages of construction are reached that require an inspection; see the table below.

    Inspections

    Ladders, scaffolds and other equipment necessary to access construction must be provided to the inspector. To schedule, cancel or modify an inspection, go to fairfaxcounty.gov/fido or the Fairfax County smartphone app. The required photo’s need to be available for the inspector during their visit.

     

Miss Utility

Before you begin excavating for your project, you must first call Miss Utility at 811, TTY 711. Miss Utility is a free service that marks underground utilities.

Building Plans

When applying for a permit, submit two copies of your building plans. The plans must meet or show the following:

  • Minimum scale of ¼ inch = 1 foot; fully dimensioned.
  • Minimum sheet size: 11 x 17 inches; no pencil.
  • Code year used for the design. See our website for the most current edition.

Local Design Criteria

→ Ground snow load: 25 psf
→ Ultimate wind speed: 115 mph
→ Maximum assumable soil bearing capacity: 1,500 psf
→ Minimum assumable lateral earth pressure: 60 pcf
→ Frost depth: 24 inches

 

  • If prepared by a Virginia registered design professional, show the original signature, seal and date.
  • Live load and dead load.
  • Name, address and occupation of the designer.

 

  • Structural framing plans for roof identifying all members’ sizes, span lengths and spacing.
  • Provide details on the panel attachment to the roof.
  • Manufacturer’s design specifications of pre-fabricated solar panels.
  • Structural letter verifying the existing roof adequacy for the new imposed loads. Calculations must include:
    ✓ Local Design Criteria.
    ✓ Existing roof conditions and material.
    ✓ Original seal and signature of the registered design professional responsible for the verification.
  • List of materials used, including strength, wood species, grade.
  • Riser diagram of electrical system.

Typical solar construction plans are available from Fairfax County that may be used in lieu on a plan submission during permit application if your project qualifies. 

Using a unique material or product?

You must reference its evaluation report from a nationally recognized listing agency, such as ICC-ES, certifying it meets the requirements of the building code. This is required for products such as pre-made sunrooms, EIFS, adjustable columns and plastic composites.

General requirements for use of the typical residential solar construction plans:

    1. Mounting structure is an engineered product designed and listed.
    2. The existing roof has one layer of roof covering.
    3. Roof structure meets one of the following criteria:
      1. Flat roof
      2. Hip roof less than 27-degree angle (6/12 pitch)
      3. Gable roof less than 45-degree angle (12/12 pitch)
      4. Modules shall be flush to roof (less than 10” between roof surface and bottom of module).
      5. Module rail systems must be attached to roof via 5/16-inch x 4-inch lag screw with a minimum of 2-inch penetration into the wood members at 48 inches on center maximum.
      6. Existing roof must be structurally adequate to support the new loads imposed by the new rail and module systems. (Use table R802.4.1 in VRC to determine if rafters are over spanned)
      7. A roof plan showing the proposed layout for the modules must be provided prior to permit issuance.
Fairfax Virtual Assistant