Broward Rooftop Solar Challenge - Weekly Update
Update 06.1 - Week of 2-15-12
Broward County > Go Green > GoSOLAR > Status Updates > Editions > Update 06.1 - Week of 2-15-12

February 15, 2012 

1. The last status update included a reference to a 2/16/12 Department of Energy webinar entitled Rooftop Solar Challenge Kickoff EventThis has been rescheduled to 2/29/12  from 1:00 – 3:00 P.M. 

Click here to register for the Rooftop Solar Challenge Kickoff Event

2. Responses to Questions from 2-3-12 Broward SunShot Webinar are listed below:

1. Q: Can cities outside of Broward participate in the permitting process?
A: Eventually. We want to emphasize that the whole idea behind this solution is replicability and the ease in which others can use it. If other cities outside of Broward are interested in joining we encourage them to participate in the process now.  A successful Phase 1 Sunshot implementation (which focuses on implementing the permitting process for Broward and participating partner cities) may lead to a Phase 2 rollout of the permitting solution that will include other counties.   If you are interested in attending meetings, you can email your contact information to sunshot@broward.org and you will be put on the distribution list.

2. Q: Are the contractors going to be required to register before applying for a permit? If not, who will verify their license, insurances, etc.?  Also, what is going to be the procedure for the contractors to register?  State Statute requires them to show proof of licenses, insurance, worker comp. etc. I don’t see a way of registering on line without having to show that proof when you are not providing the ability to submit any scanned documents on line.
A: Currently, the plan is for applicants to register in the system and complete an electronic form with the required information.  Information provided during registration (license, insurance, etc.) will be reviewed by Broward staff.  Once approved, a password will be provided to the applicant that will allow them access and use of the system.

3. Q: What about other fees required to be paid, such as the surcharges fee that goes to the State? When are those fees added to the permit fee to be paid?
A: The intent was a $500 flat fee; however this issue will be revisited with the building officials at a future stakeholder meeting. 

4. Q: Is the applicant going to be required to upload a location plan of the specific site?
A: No, there will be no documents uploaded during the application process.

5. Q: Is there an area of the website where the systems can be viewed without being in the application screens?
A: Yes.  On the welcome page under the help they will be able to see all of the systems that are available.

6. Q: There are six types of inspections. Can the contractor ask for more than one inspection at a time? And, part of the early discussion of streamlining the permitting and inspection process was that one inspector could perform more than one aspect of the inspection per visit.  The system does not seem to allow for a multipurpose inspection.
A: We are reconfiguring the system to allow multiple inspections to be requested. 

7. Q: How does the plan review process work? How will Planning & Zoning approval be obtained?
A:  The concept is that all of the design plans that will be available in the system will be preapproved.  In other words, the plan review will have already been completed before the applicant ever applies for the permit – there will be no need to review an applicant’s plans a second time.

8. Q: A report on the total kilowatts installed to date or a kW counter on the site would be an interesting outreach feature and would help support performance measures for the site.
A: All of the information that is going into the system can be pulled out later so we are able to run reports and run queries. However, such a report is not part of the initial scope of the project.

9. Q: How will each of the cities receive permit payment?  Electronically or by check?
A:  Check.

10. Q: Can the notification emails to the city be sent to various email addresses?
A:  Recommendation is to set up an email distribution group in your email box and put in the name of the distribution group and not the name of the individual – in this fashion, cities can easily control who receives emails.

11. Q: Will we be able to assign more than one agency representative email at a time?
A:  Yes.  You will be able to have multiple people who have permission to change the agency information about the city, but there will be one email address for each of those automated emails. 

12. Q: How will re-inspection fees be handled?
A: The current system does not incorporate re-inspection fees. The flat fee of $500 is intended to cover all re-inspection fees. 

13. Q: As new solar panel technologies come along, does the system allow for expansion of the potential new designs?
A: Yes. The administrator will be able to upload new designs and templates for the PV systems, electrical panels, and for the roofs. 

14. Q: Suggest moving the Not Required button for the NOC as all PV systems will require an NOC.
A:  The button will be removed.

15. Q:  It was mentioned in the webinar that for now the ability to apply for permit on line will be available only for contractors, yet there is legislature being approved in Tallahassee that will allow homeowners also to apply on line for PV system. What is the purpose of allowing a homeowner to obtain a permit for a PV system when in the end, the work has to be done by a licensed contractor.
A:  Broward is seeking to remove any impediments to full implementation of electronic permitting, including the homeowner exemption “personally appear” requirement.
Questions and Answers from RFI Teleconference.

6. A RFI teleconference occurred on 2-7-12.  Questions asked and answered are below.

Q- J-bolt requirement.  Is Broward not going to allow conventional bolt mounting?
A-The consensus among some design engineers in the industry is that when you introduce a lag bolt into a 1 5/8  top chord, you may reduce the structural integrity of that top chord. As an alternate design, some professional engineers have suggested a j-bolt that would go through the top ½ inch or 5/8 inch portion of the plywood directly to the attachment of the cord. However, any mounting attachment system meeting all applicable codes designed, signed and sealed by a State of Florida registered structural engineer is acceptable.

Q-Once the person chooses a racking company on your website, would the manufacturer ever have communication with the client as to what the manufacture would be providing?
A-Yes.   Having selected a system preapproved by the local authority having jurisdiction and received a permit through the SunShot solution, the applicant will be required to obtain and use that manufacturer’s mounting solution to have a legally permitted solar energy system.

Q-The template seems to be oriented towards the racking system and not the attachment to the roof? Describe how a company that designs mounts might deal with this challenge.
A- The racking system and the attachment of that racking system to the roof structure would have to be designed to meet all applicable codes, including required high velocity wind zone criteria for Broward County. If there is a design that would be a one-size-fits-all racking system that would be great, and under this RFI, Broward would welcome suggestions on such a solution.  However, the intent of the RFI was to ask racking manufactures to design an attachment of their systems to the most common roof types here in South Florida, which will be used to produce preapproved designed plans for permitting. The design drawings would need to include design criteria, i.e., structural roof type, roof pitch, panel angle and mounting distance from edge of roof, etc.

Thank you.

Jeffery Halsey, Director
Broward County Pollution Prevention, Remediation and Air Quality Division

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      Participating Partners:  City of Coconut Creek, Dania Beach, Davie, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale, Hillsboro Beach, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Miramar, North Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Pompano Beach, Sunrise, Tamarac, and Florida Power & Light