Before installing solar power for home use, be sure you brush up on the zoning with your city, county and state. Even those who live out in rural areas may be subject to zoning laws or restrictions.
Normally the most restriction you will encounter will be on the local or city level; even more so if you live in an area that is called a "Home Owners Association" or HOA. There will be less restriction by the county and even less by the state than of the city or HOA.
Start at the level of the HOA if you live in one. Find out if there are restrictions to installing and having solar panels on your roof or even in your yard.
Find out if the materials you will use for the solar power are okay and will pass inspection. If there are restrictions to what you plan to do or use, seek the advice of the association board and find out what you can do in this situation. There may be alternatives.
If you find restrictions within the local or city level you need to see the planning office to find out how you can use solar panels on your home.
You may need to do some research to find out exactly who you need to talk with - all cities have different departments. Some call them "zoning departments" others may call them planning departments or building code departments.
Seek out the correct one and make a list of what you will need for permits and the process path you will need to take. Once you complete this level of research you will need to continue on with the next level - the county.
Check for a county website or go directly to the country offices. Ask who is in charge of zoning and who handles the permits. If you get an all clear from the county - or if there are no zoning restrictions at this level you will then need to research on the state level before you can proceed.
When you decide to use solar power for home use just remember to research all the zoning restrictions before you start your project, from the local home owners associations, to your city, county and ultimately your state.
While you are researching, see if you can find local suppliers who can help you with the zoning issues. Since they are already set up to do business in your area they will be one step ahead of the game. They will know the laws and can be a great resource for more than just supplies!
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