State launches streamlined photovoltaic permit process

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) has expanded its on-line building permit program for residential photovoltaic (PV) systems to allow contractors the option to obtain building permits without having to go to the City's Permit Center.

The new feature will dramatically reduce the number of people who line up each day at the Permit Center just for PV permits. The number of PV permits issued by DPP has nearly tripled each of the past three years from 1,298 in fiscal year 2010, to 3,231 in 2011, and 9,096 last year.

"We are encouraged by the number of residents wanting to be environmentally friendly by installing a PV system, however, the shear number of PV applications has monopolized the resources of the department at the expense of all other types of building permits. Our new application program will allow contractors to apply and receive their residential PV permits online, which will lead to better service and faster turnaround for everyone," said DPP Director David Tanoue.

The expanded on-line system is available on the DPP website at The department hopes that the ease of obtaining the permit will eliminate the practice of some contractors submitting PV design plans for review that did not reflect what was going to be installed just to obtain a permit to begin installation.  Later, the contractor would submit revised plans showing what was actually installed, which required a second review by staff.

The on-line permitting system is available for most single-family residential PV system applications. Applications for commercial and multi-family dwelling PV projects must still be processed through the Permit Center for review and permit issuance.

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