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Navigating High Velocity Wind Zones: How to Get Residential Solar Permits Approved

For solar installers, navigating the complexities of obtaining residential solar permits in high-velocity wind zones like Miami-Dade County requires a comprehensive understanding of structural engineering, local building codes, and regulatory requirements. In regions prone to strong winds, ensuring the safety and stability of solar installations is paramount. Here, we explore key strategies for solar installers to successfully obtain permits for residential solar projects in high-velocity wind zones while adhering to stringent safety standards.

  1. Verify that all products have notices of acceptance.

For all products installers use that are specific to hurricane velocity zones, it is essential to ensure that all of these products have notices of acceptance. These notices are documents that the building department provides the manufacturer after extensive testing to ensure the product tested above and beyond that which it was supposed to perform. The notices of acceptance certify the products for use in hurricane or high wind velocity zones. If you’re unsure as to where to find these notices, you can contact the product manufacturers who can provide these to you. 

  1. Ensure the solar modules can sustain the requisite design pressures and wind speeds.

The building departments and calculations will prescribe specific pressures and wind speeds that the modules must be able to withstand. For example, Miami-Dade County has the most stringent requirements, including that the modules be able to sustain wind speeds of 175 miles per hour. You will need to confirm that the solar modules you plan to use meet the pressure and wind requirements prescribed in the project’s location. 

  1. Make sure the waterproofing matches the building department’s criteria.

Each building department has their own waterproofing criteria to ensure a common standard is upheld. You will need to thoroughly research the building codes, regulations and guidelines specific to the jurisdiction where the solar installation will take place. It is also important to use sealants that are in compliance with notices of acceptance.

  1. Work with a reputable design and engineering firm on structural and module design, and/or post-installation letters.

Leveraging the expertise of a solar design and engineering that has extensive experience getting projects in hurricane-prone areas approved is paramount. Here are some of the ways companies like can ensure efficient approval of your projects located in high velocity wind zones: 

  • Structural design: They use advanced automation to analyze the roof and make sure that the attachments that were selected can withstand the loads being placed on them by wind and other external factors. They will also ensure that all of the building department’s documentation requirements are met. 

  • Module design: Based on pressure calculations and structural requirements, Solar Letters connects with module manufacturers to ensure sufficient testing has been completed on their products for high velocity wind zones. They verify whether the testing has been completed already and, if not, what the modules need to be tested up to. They then complete the testing with them. Then, the manufacturer provides a letter saying how it was tested and how the modules will work with various pressures.

  • Post-installation letters: Solar Letters reviews pictures that installers send and then they certify the installations. This is a great alternative without having to have an engineer or an inspector come on site. The general procedure involves sending the order form with the checklist of pictures. Solar Letters then makes sure the pictures comply with building department requirements. They also verify the spacing between the attachments to make sure the material prescribed on the plans is actually used on site. This ensures that there are no holes or things that can void the warranty of the roof itself, which serves to protect both the homeowner, the installer and the Engineer of Record from liability. 

Navigating the process of obtaining residential solar permits in high-velocity wind zones presents unique challenges for solar installers. By verifying that all products have notices of acceptance, ensuring the modules can sustain the required pressures and wind speeds, using the appropriate waterproofing as well as an experienced engineering firm, solar installers can increase the likelihood of successfully obtaining permits for residential solar projects in these challenging environments.

If you have any questions about how to receive approval for solar permits in an efficient manner in high velocity wind zones and hurricane-prone areas, get in touch with a design and engineering expert at today. 


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