Constructing Your Solar Project
Privately owned "merchant" electrical generating facilities are subject to construction permits, which must be obtained prior to commencing construction on the site. The Department generally prefers that a complete project design be submitted for review; however, we realize that many large-scale projects are "design-build," necessitating deferred submittals. During the construction permit review process, staff will evaluate the proposed construction against the appropriate construction codes, zoning ordinance/drainage regulations, and the stipulations of approval for the associated Special Use Permit and related Comprehensive Plan Amendment. Staff will also seek review and approval from the One-Stop-Shop partner agencies and in some cases the applicable fire service provider, prior to issuing the permit.
All equipment included in the design of the system must be evaluated by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) and many aspects of construction must be overseen by a third-party Special Inspector. Individual permits may be required for different constructs within the facility. A rule of thumb is that if a proposed building requires a separate Certificate of Occupancy in order to begin service, or if the proposed construct requires its own inspection sequence, a separate permit is required. You may also file an application for a Grading-only permit, which will allow you to begin earthwork prior to the vertical construction being approved. A complete listing of construction permit application packets may be found on the Commercial Construction page.
Generally, fees for construction permits are based on the valuation of the project, although if deferred submittals are requested, there will be an additional charge based on an hourly rate over and above the valuation-based permit fee. A complete listing of permit fees may be found under Section 208 of the Local Additions and Addenda (PDF). For more assistance in understanding the fee schedule, please see our Brief Explanation of Fees (PDF).
Note that until recently, we were able to offer a concurrent permit review process whereby construction permits could be evaluated while the Comprehensive Plan Amendment and/or Special Use Permit were in process; however, with the implementation of A.R.S. 11-1605, this is no longer possible. All permit applications received after December 31, 2012 are subject to the licensing timeframes as established by the Department. Find more information regarding the Regulatory Bill of Rights and Licensing Timeframes on the Permit Processing Change / HB2443l Information Form (PDF).
The Special Use Permit will include a condition of approval requiring the applicant to post financial assurances sufficient to cover the cost of site security, stabilization and restoration prior to the issuance of any construction permits relating to the site. This may be in the form of a surety bond, irrevocable letter of credit or cash, and must be memorialized through a Development Agreement, which must be approved and executed by the Board of Supervisors and recorded with the County Recorder prior to the release of any construction permits relating to on-site construction. Upon satisfactory completion of construction, the Department will release the assurance back to the developer. Please contact Michael Norris either by calling 602-372-4114 or email him for more information on this matter.
Most Special Use Permits are approved subject to a condition requiring adjacent rights-of-way be dedicated to the County prior to the issuance of any construction permits relating to the site. The dedication process can take time therefore staff advises that applicants start that process as early as practicable. To that end, please see the Right-of-Way Dedication Packet (PDF) and Title Company Requirements (PDF). For more information regarding the dedication process, please contact Kathy Pettigrew either by calling 602-506-4883 or via email.
Right-of-Way Permits & Assurances
Work in the public right-of-way must first be approved through the Maricopa County Department of Transportation (MCDOT). This will entail the preparation and submittal of construction plans for that work, in addition to some form of financial assurance. This is a separate assurance from that discussed under Restoration Bond above. For more information regarding the right-of-way permit process, please contact Jack Situ at 602-506-8799 or via email. For more information regarding the MCDOT financial assurance process, please contact Elizabeth Valenzuela at 602-506-8791 or via email.