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Change in electrical code eases photovoltaic system installations


Photovoltaic panels being installed at Pahoa Cash & Carry. Hawaii 24/7 File Photo

A recent change in Section 9-33, Chapter 9 of the Hawai‘i County electrical code removes the requirement for an architect or structural engineer’s seal on building plans and specs for residential photovoltaic installations. The change, signed into law under ordinance 12-149 by Mayor Billy Kenoi, became effective November 8, 2012.

“With this change in the electrical code, homeowners and installers can get photovoltaic systems on homes more quickly. Residential photovoltaic systems are an important part of reducing our island’s dependence on imported fuels and easing the burden of high electricity prices on our Hawai‘i Island families,” said Mayor Kenoi.

The law did not change the requirement for an architect or structural engineer’s seal on building plans and specs for non-residential photovoltaic installations. Building and electrical permits are still required for residential and non-residential photovoltaic installations, as well as an electrical engineer’s stamp for electrical design drawings.

Electrical and building applications may be completed and tracked online through the Papa Aukahi web portal at Public computers within the Hilo and Kona Building Division Offices are available to create and track online permit applications.

Front desk support for permit applications is 7:45 AM to 3:30 PM Monday – Friday, with the exception of Wednesday (Hilo) and Thursday (Kona), when the desk closes at noon. All other Public Works divisions remain available weekdays until 4:30 p.m. for code questions, consultation, and drop off and pick up for plans and permits.

One Response to “Change in electrical code eases photovoltaic system installations”

  1. waimeajim says:

    How does this help the homeowner when they are adding a concentrated load on one section of the roof?

    Will the County be responsible if the roof collapses, or walls buckle, because the structure could not support the additional load?
    I would think at a minimum, the roof should be reinforced to support the increased weight.


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