City says permits are needed for solar panels

Bainbridge Island officials are reminding homeowners who want to install solar panels that they'll need to get a permit first.

In recent months, solar panels have been installed at city hall and the Bainbridge Island Aquatics Center, and officials said islanders are also starting to install panels on their homes.

Before starting the installation process, however, homeowners need to get a building permit.

“Solar panels can change the structural load on a roof,” said Chris Wierzbicki, acting building official for Bainbridge Island.

“The city needs to review the proposed installation to ensure that the weight and height of the panels do not cause structural instability or create a ‘wind sail’ condition that can damage a roof during storm events,” he explained.

Bainbridge officials also note that permits are also needed for other common projects, such as repairing or replacing decks and stairs, for roof replacements, or the installation or replacement of water heaters, generators, heat pumps or propane tanks.

For more information, contact the Planning & Community Development Department at 206-780-3750 or



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