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Solar Energy Codes, Permitting and Zoning

University at Buffalo and State University of New York via Coursera


This course equips learners to identify national code and zoning rules specific to photovoltaic (PV) systems, as well as key design elements and points for inspection. Curriculum includes zoning variances, critical elements of the permitting process, planning documents necessary for PV system installation and recommendations for permitting offices to streamline the permit process. Learners gain a code inspector’s perspective in relation to building and electrical code requirements.

This course is for anyone interested in entering the solar power sector, and is especially appropriate for building and code inspectors, engineers, HVAC installers and architects. It assumes that the learner has a basic grasp of electrical engineering and mathematical concepts. Those who are unfamiliar with how PV works, the elements of a PV system, and/or solar power ROI should take the first course of the specialization, Solar Energy Systems Overview. Learners seeking a greater understanding of the anatomy and function of PV systems should take the second course, Solar Energy and Electrical System Design.

Material includes online lectures, videos, demos, hands-on exercises, project work, readings and discussions. This is the third course in the Solar PV for Engineers, Architects and Code Inspectors specialization. To learn more about the specialization, check out a video overview at


  • Code and Inspection Requirements
    • Students will gain an understanding of the many codes impacting solar system design, installation and operation.
  • Inspection Methods and the Permitting Process
    • Students will review to the types of codes and zoning rules inspectors consider when reviewing PV systems.
  • Inspection Considerations
    • Students will explore key PV system design elements and points for inspection.
  • Labeling Requirements
    • Students will learn about PV system labeling requirements for small and large systems.
  • Compliance Project: Theory to Practice

Taught by

Gay E Canough

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