Depending on the type and scale, solar installations need to comply with a number of local and provincial governing codes, regulations and requirements. The chart below provides a high-level overview of requirements that may apply to your planned solar installation. It is also recommended that you contact Toronto Hydro early in the permitting process to ensure your solar PV system will become operational as soon as possible.

Type of Solar Installation Net Metering Electrical Safety Authority Approval Building Permit Zoning By-Law Review Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR) Renewable Energy Approval (REA) from the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Summary of Solar Permitting Considerations
Rooftop solar Yes Yes Yes No No No
Ground/pole mounted solar Yes Yes No Yes No No
Ground mounted solar (between 10 and 500 kW) Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
Ground mounted solar (above 500 kW) Yes Yes No Yes No Yes

Note: You may require additional approvals, permits and/or authorizations from other ministries and approving bodies. You should discuss required permits and approvals with your solar installer. A well-informed solar installer who is knowledgeable about permitting requirements is critical to achieve an efficient permit approval process.

Net metering requirements are administered by Toronto Hydro. All solar PV installations in Toronto require Toronto Hydro’s approval to connect into the electricity grid, a process called ‘interconnection’. This interconnection approval must be granted before a solar PV installation is allowed to operate.

Solar water heating systems do not require utility approval unless a grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) system is included (hybrid systems have both grid-connected PV and thermal energy collection).

Solar projects connected to the electricity grid participate in the Net Metering program enabled by Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 Regulation 541/05. Net energy metering (NEM), commonly known as net metering, is a metering and billing mechanism that allows customers to send electricity generated from their solar installation to Toronto Hydro’s distribution system for a credit towards their electricity bills. Excess generation credits can be carried forward for a consecutive 12-month period to offset future electricity bills.

Please refer to Toronto Hydro’s website for information on the Toronto Hydro grid connection process. Toronto Hydro can also be contacted via e-mail at

The solar installer assumes responsibility for submitting the required paperwork associated with interconnection and net metering to Toronto Hydro.

In addition to meeting Toronto Hydro’s connection requirements, solar installations must meet electricity safety requirements set out by the Ontario Electrical Safety Code (OESC) administered by the Province’s Electrical Safety Authority (ESA). A Connection Authorization for the solar installation must be obtained from the Electrical Safety Authority. The installation is subject to an inspection by an ESA Inspector to determine that system components meet appropriate standards and that the system is electrically safe to the requirements of the OESC.

Your installer assumes the responsibility of submitting the required documentation to the ESA.

Building permits allow the City to confirm that the proposed projects are structurally sound and follow the Ontario Building Code, City zoning by-laws, and other applicable laws. Typically, a permit application is submitted on behalf of a property owner by the contractor installing the solar energy system.

  • A building permit is required for the installation of solar PV systems, solar collector systems and solar hot water systems on rooftops and walls of any building.
  • A building permit is also required for solar energy systems installed on a structure that is ancillary to an existing building such as a carport or pergola.
  • A building permit is not required for free standing ground mounted solar projects, but zoning by-laws must be followed.

Building Permit Process

The building permit process for each project may differ slightly, depending on the scope. Generally, the process follows these steps:

  1. Prepare the application and drawings for submission. You can draft your own or hire a qualified designer. For more details, see guidelines for Preparing Building Permit Drawings.
  2. Submit the Building Permit application to Toronto Building.
  3. The City will complete the Plan Review Process. If the project complies with applicable regulations, the application will be approved, and a permit will be issued.
  4. Determine if an inspection is required for small or large buildings.

Building Permit Fees

Type of Building Fee
Building Permit Fees (updated as of 2023)
Buildings with fewer than three storeys in height and smaller than 600 m2 in area (Part 9 Buildings) $198.59
Other building types $393.21/structure

Fees may be subject to change. Refer to the Building Permit Fees webpage to confirm the most up to date fees.

Application Requirements

Please refer to information on designated structures for building permit submission requirements including forms and documentation.

Required forms include: Application for a Permit to Construct or Demolish form, Commitment to General Review form and the Tree Declaration form.

Required documentation includes Site Plan, Construction Details, Elevation Drawings and a report or demonstration by an engineer to confirm the structural adequacy of the existing roof system to support additional loads.

Site plan

Survey or site plan should show the building footprints, property lines, and lot area. The plan should show the location and dimensions of solar panels, ridgeline of roof, and include setback dimensions to property lines and adjacent buildings.

Elevation drawings

A simple building elevation will be required to measure the height of the installation above the roof. The elevation must show the height of the building and the height of the solar installation, but does not need to show other building details.

Construction details

Construction drawings, including Structural Review, Plans and Calculations are required. Structural calculations prepared by an Ontario registered engineer are also required.

  1. At a minimum, structural calculations verifying adequacy of the structure’s roof framing, strut or frame supporting the rails (where used), attachment of the rail to the support /strut frame and the attachment to the building’s roof framing are required. Calculations must be based on the latest version of the Ontario Building Code. In some cases, manufacturer’s information and installation details may be substituted for required calculation and details.
  2. Drawings must include a roof framing plan (structural framing member size, type, span and spacing) and any additional framing required to reinforce the existing framing. Provide a building section in sufficient detail to show how the roof framing supports the solar installation and distributes the roof and solar loads to the building walls. The plans must include the layout of the module system and its mounting, overlaid on the roof framing plan. Drawings must also provide information on any support strut or frame that supports the rails including frame member sizes, lateral bracing where required and their attachments. Details and information on the attachment of the system to the building structure are also required.

Manufacturer’s specifications

Provide the manufacturer’s specifications for the proposed PV modules, racking, inverter(s).

Design professional stamp and signature

All plans and calculations must be stamped and signed by a registered Qualified designer, typically a Structural Engineer.

Submit Permit Application

You can submit applications via email to Review the detailed email submission process before submitting your application.

Processing timeline

Complete applications are typically processed in 10 business days for a house, and 10 to 20 days for larger buildings.

Permit Status

You can check the status of your application by using the Building Permit Status Tool.

Permit Expiration

All permits expire 12 months after the date of issue. Failure to start the work authorized by a permit within a six-month period renders the Permit invalid and a new permit must be obtained.

The Inspection Process

Building inspections are required to verify that the solar system is properly installed in accordance with the building permit. Residential solar systems typically require a single inspection. You can request an Inspection using this Building Inspection Web Application.

Zoning by-laws regulate the size, height, location and use of buildings and structures. In some instances, local zoning by-laws apply to solar projects. This depends on where your site is located, as well as the size and design of the proposed solar energy system. When a building permit application is submitted to the City, they also review the application to ensure compliance with zoning by-law requirements.

Exemption for Rooftop and Wall-Mounted Solar

As a result of Regulation 508/18 and Section 25.35.1 of Ontario’s Electricity Act, roof or wall-mounted solar systems installed in compliance with the Building Code are exempt from zoning by-laws. Please refer to the 508/18 and Section 25.35.1 of Ontario’s Electricity Act to learn more.

Freestanding Solar

Freestanding or ground-mounted/pole-mounted solar systems are subject to local zoning by-law requirements. Also, any system built on a new structure (such as a carport, pergola, etc.) that is ancillary to an existing building is subject to zoning requirements.

You can request a preliminary zoning review at the design stage to determine whether your project design complies with applicable regulations. Refer to the Zoning Applicable Law Certificate for more information.

When a Heritage Permit is required, the review occurs in parallel to the building permit review process. To determine if your property is a listed or designated property, search the City of Toronto’s Heritage Register.

Heritage Planning supports solar installations on heritage buildings provided that the panels are minimally visible from the street. Heritage Planning should be contacted for approval of the intended address prior to commencing a solar installation. The review by Heritage Planning staff will take into account the visibility of the solar panels, the roof form of the building, and the specific heritage attributes of individually designated heritage properties or Heritage Conservation Districts. To find out more, see planning for heritage.

In addition to local zoning review by the City of Toronto, ground mounted solar installations are subject to environmental permitting requirements set out by the province, administered by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks.

Solar projects under 10 kW are exempt from both EASR and REA.  Similarly, wall-mounted and/or rooftop solar panels do not require a REA or registration on EASR, regardless of the peak capacity.

Ground-mounted solar projects with peak capacity greater than 500 kW need Renewable Energy Approval (REA) from the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. An REA application requires the submission of various forms, design reports and studies to the Ministry. Please refer to the Ministry’s ‘Technical Guide to Renewable Energy Approvals‘.

While ground mounted solar projects greater than 500 kW, require a REA, projects between 10 kW and 500 kW are eligible for the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR), if they meet requirements set out in O. Reg 350/12 including specific operational requirements. To review requirements for compliance, please refer to ‘Small ground-mounted solar facilities user guide for Environmental Activity & Sector Registry (EASR)’.

Amongst other requirements, the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks has imposed certain setback distances to the property boundary, natural features and water bodies. Ground mounted solar projects (including solar carports) must be set not less than 15 meters from the property boundary and 30 meters away from any water body.

Take Time to Review Permit Requirements

Understanding requirements allow applicants to submit a complete and accurate permit application.

  • If unsure about what permitting requirements apply, contact the approval body (i.e. City of Toronto, Toronto Hydro, etc.).
  • Closely review submission requirements for drawings, specifications and required forms and documentation.
  • Follow the drawing standards and guidelines closely.
  • Ensure all information is accurate (i.e., addresses, account numbers, email addresses, etc.)
  • Double-check that your information is consistent in all forms and documents.

Contact Your Utility (Toronto Hydro) Early in the Permitting Process (Solar PV)

Pursuing utility approval early in the process will enable your solar PV system to become operational as soon as possible.

Make Sure That the Built Solar Installation Matches Submitted Plans

The inspector will verify that the installation aligns with proposed plans and any changes may require corrections and more inspections.