City of Chicago - Solar Express Permit Program

August 11, 2023


In 2013, the City of Chicago streamlined and standardized the permitting and zoning process for rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Small and large rooftop PV generators can now access the City of Chicago Easy Permit Process. Qualifying projects can receive same-day permit approvals (a process that used to take 30 days) at a reduced fee of $275 (down from $375).

There are separate steps for small and large rooftop systems. Small rooftop solar PV systems are those generating less than 13.44 kilowatt (kW). Large rooftop solar PV systems are those generating greater than 13.44 kW. 

Along with the Easy Permit Process, Chicago’s Department of Buildings has published new permitting guidelines that allow general contractors to clearly demonstrate safe design of solar systems on all Chicago building types, leading to a reduction of engineering fees and potential savings for qualifying solar projects.

The new City of Chicago Solar Zoning Policy gives clear guidance on how to design solar projects in accordance with the City’s zoning ordinance. In the EPP process, applicants are able to forgo a dedicated zoning review, saving time and money.

Application Procedure

The process involves the selection of a licensed solar contractor with experience installing solar in Chicago and approval by the City of Chicago and ComEd. Interested applicants should view the program website for more information on the application process. 

Program Overview

Implementing Sector: Local
Category: Regulatory Policy
State: Illinois
Incentive Type: Solar/Wind Permitting Standards
Web Site:
Start Date:
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
  • Solar Photovoltaics


Name: Permits Office
Organization: Department of Buildings
Address: 121 N. LaSalle St. Room 900
Chicago IL 60602
Phone: (312) 744-3449

This information is sourced from DSIRE; the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.