Is Off-Grid Solar Legal in California?

Going off the grid with solar panels is an exciting prospect that will free you from your utility company and put you in full control of your own power production. But is it legal to install an off-grid solar system in California? 

The answer is yes—it is fully legal to install off-grid solar panels in California, as long as you obtain all the necessary permits. 

Six Rivers Solar specializes in off-grid solar installations on the North Coast. We’ve put together this guide to help you learn more about California’s off-grid solar laws so you can prepare for your off-grid solar installation.

Permit Requirements for Off-Grid Solar in California

Just like any other building or electrical project, you need a permit for off-grid solar in California. The type of permit or permits you need depends on where you live and the local building code requirements. In most cases, you will need a building permit and an electrical permit for an off-grid solar installation in California. The solar contractor you hire must also be a licensed C-10 or C-46 contractor, according to the California Electrical Code. 

If you want to live fully off the grid without any access to municipal utilities, you will need additional permits to install a well and septic tank. These permits may be more difficult to obtain. In some parts of California, sewage restrictions make it impossible to live fully off the grid. However, off-grid solar panels and battery storage systems, including solar microgrids, are legal throughout the entire state!

How to Go Off Grid with Solar in California

The process of installing off-grid solar panels is very similar to the process of installing grid-tied solar panels. The only difference is that your off-grid solar system will not be connected to the electric grid, so you won’t need an interconnection agreement or a utility inspection. 

The first step is researching off-grid solar installation companies in California and choosing a contractor that aligns with your needs and expectations. From there, the process will vary depending on the contractor you choose and the specifics of your project. 

In most cases, the process will look something like this:

  1. Consultation – Initial meeting to discuss your needs and determine whether off-grid solar is a viable option for your property. 
  2. Site assessment – Evaluation of your property to determine its solar potential and where your system should be located for optimal performance. 
  3. System design and proposal – Based on your consultation and site assessment, we’ll design a custom off-grid solar system tailored to your needs. 
  4. Permitting – We’ll obtain all necessary permits and approvals from relevant authorities.
  5. Installation – On the scheduled day, our crew will arrive at your property and install your off-grid solar panel system. 
  6. System activation – We will turn your system on and walk you through the steps for ongoing monitoring and maintenance.

Does off-grid solar make sense for your home or business? Check out our Complete Guide to Off-Grid Solar Installation in California and try our free sizing calculator to learn more!

Residential & Commercial Off-Grid Solar Installation in California

Six Rivers Solar is the go-to off-grid solar company on the North Coast. We specialize in complex off-grid solar panel and battery designs to get you the reliable power you need no matter where you need it. We are 100% local and we know the area better than any out-of-state installer. Whether you’re looking for an off-grid solar company to install solar panels on your remote cabin or at your grow farm deep in the Emerald Triangle, we are the local expert you can trust.

Ready to go off-grid? Call 707-443-5652 or contact us to schedule a consultation.