(Added by O-3804)


The purpose of this chapter is to promote and encourage the installation and use of small residential rooftop solar energy systems by limiting obstacles to their use and minimizing the permitting costs of such systems. Consistent with subdivision (a) of Section 65850.5 of the California Government Code, this chapter creates an expedited permitting process for small residential rooftop solar energy systems.


The provisions of this section contain requirements and restrictions for an expedited permitting process for small residential rooftop solar energy systems to comply with current Assembly Bill 2188. The process includes the submittal and review of documents necessary to permit these systems, field inspection requirements of these systems and permit fees that are collected.

814.1.030 DEFINITIONS.

The following words and phrases shall have the following meanings when used in this chapter:

"Electronic submittal" means the utilization of one (1) or more of the following:

1)    E-mail;

2)    Internet; or

3)    Facsimile.

"Small residential rooftop solar energy system" means all of the following:

1)    Solar energy system that is no larger than ten (10) kilowatts alternating current nameplate rating or thirty (30) kilowatts thermal;

2)    A solar energy system that conforms to all applicable fire, structural, electrical, and other building codes as adopted or amended in Division 8 of the Torrance Municipal Code and paragraph (3) of subdivision (c) of Section 714 of the California Civil Code;

3)    A solar energy system that is installed on a single- or two (2) family dwelling; and

4)    A solar panel or module array that does not exceed the maximum legal building height as defined by the Torrance Municipal Code.

"Solar energy system" has the same meaning as set forth in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 801.5 of the California Civil Code.


This chapter will be applicable to projects that meet the definition of small residential rooftop solar energy system as defined in Section 814.1.030.


Section 65850.5 of the California Government Code provides that in developing an expedited permitting process, the city, county, or city and county shall adopt a checklist of all requirements with which small rooftop solar energy systems shall comply to be eligible for expedited review. The Building Official is hereby authorized and directed to develop and adopt such checklist. The checklist shall be published on the City’s Internet website.

The applicant may submit the permit application and associated supporting documentation to the City’s Building Division by personal, mailed, or electronic submittal together with any required permit processing and inspection fees. In case of electronic submittal, the electronic signature of the applicant on all forms, applications and other documentation may be used in lieu of a wet signature.


a)    The City Manager and such other officers and employees as the City Manager may designate shall enforce the provisions of this chapter.

b)    As necessary, these officers and employees may, at a reasonable time and in a manner authorized by the laws of California, enter and make inspections on any property regulated under this chapter.

c)    For a small residential rooftop solar energy system eligible for expedited review, only one (1) inspection shall be required, which shall be done in a timely manner and may include a consolidated inspection by the Building Official and Fire Chief. If a small residential rooftop solar system fails inspection, a subsequent inspection is authorized; however, the subsequent inspection need not conform to the requirements of this section.

814.1.070 FEES.

The City Council may establish and fix the amount of fees for services provided under this chapter, as authorized under California Government Code Sections 66016 and 66018 or successor provisions. In addition to the above, projects regulated under Section 66015 of Division 1 of Title 7 of the California Government Code shall pay fees for the rooftop solar energy systems that do not exceed the estimated reasonable cost of providing the service for which the fee is charged, which cannot exceed an amount as set forth in Section 66015 of the California Government Code, unless certain conditions are met.