Breaking News! Effective May 4, 2020, Yolo County announced it is now allowing construction and other limited activities to resume. The City of Davis is accepting new construction permit applications and resuming processing of existing applications. The building counter in City Hall remains closed to the public. See links below for how to submit permit applications via email.

As our community adopts new ways of going about daily life due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re all spending much more time at home. This benefits ourselves and our loved ones — as well as the community as a whole — by decreasing exposure to foreign vectors.

With summer fast approaching, temperatures will continue to rise here in the Sacramento Valley. The heat of the summer along with increased time spent at home will result in higher energy bills from more frequent use of air conditioning systems.

However, if your home is nearly due for a new roof, it’s also the optimal time to consider installing a rooftop solar system to help cut down on energy costs in the future.

There are significant benefits to completing re-roofing and rooftop solar installation projects at the same time. Doing both projects at the same time is cost-effective, logistically simpler for the homeowner as well as service providers, and environmentally beneficial due to the resulting reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from energy generation.

Logistical Benefits

The lifespan of a new roof and a rooftop solar system is approximately the same, with proper care and warranties. That makes re-roofing the perfect time to subsequently install rooftop solar. Putting a rooftop solar system on an old roof may result in needing to remove then re-install the solar panels to replace or repair roof parts.

Doing these projects together can reduce the likelihood of repairs or replacements occurring at different times. Simply completing these projects together can relieve a homeowner of worries later on about the health of their roof and the integrity of their rooftop solar system. This can also lead to several cost benefits related to re-roofing and rooftop solar installation, as well (see below for details).

Keep in mind that installing a rooftop solar system involves putting a fair amount of strain on your roof.  Keep in mind that a poorly installed rooftop solar system can impact the function and longevity of your roof.

Homeowners should consider other roof-related efficiency measures like radiant barriers and upgrading attic insulation when planning to replace their roof.

Did you know? Under the provisions of the 2013 California Energy Code, all residential re-roofing projects must comply with cool roof requirements when more than 50% of a roof is replaced. More information on materials can be found at 

Cost Benefits

It’s important to consider the lifespan and health of your roof when thinking about installing a rooftop solar system. For instance, if you get a rooftop solar system installed and then find out that your roof needs replacing a couple of years later, it could cost an additional $3,000 to $5,000 to remove the solar panels and re-install them after the roof has been replaced.

Many solar contractors offer warranty options that address this situation. Accordingly, it may be to a homeowner’s advantage to discuss warranty options in detail with the contractor, in case there is the opportunity to potentially cover some of that fee if that situation were to arise.

Yolo County home after re-roof treatment now ready for a solar photovoltaic system installation. Photo courtesy Citadel Roofing.

Environmental Benefits

In the face of a global health crisis, many people are spending more time at home to keep themselves and others safe. This will result in increased energy bills throughout the summer months when temperatures often rise above 100ºF in Davis. Environmentally friendly energy generation is important to residents in Davis, as it will decrease the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted into the atmosphere, commonly referred to as our carbon footprint. These emissions increase the risk of climate change affecting our daily lives in the future.

Another positive impact a rooftop solar system is decreased monthly energy bills. Using energy generated by solar power is an effective way to keep our homes cool throughout the summer without breaking the bank. With the uncertainties of the COVID-19 health crisis, keeping you and your loved ones comfortable at home takes on increased importance.

City Permitting During COVID-19

During the shelter-in-place order from Yolo County and the State of California, the City of Davis is working to continue to provide essential services to the community. City Hall is closed to the public, but a limited number of essential staff are still working and providing for the community in many ways, including processing permits for construction projects.

The City of Davis is currently accepting online permit applications for all types of projects. Greg Mahoney, Chief Building Officer with the City of Davis Building Division, reports that “Since everything has moved electronic right now during this pandemic, permits can take a little bit longer to approve, but it’s still a simple process overall.”

With permits come inspections, and the City has defined protocols for inspections during the COVID-19 crisis. In order to protect building inspectors, homeowners, and contractors, the City is asking everyone to postpone any inspections that don’t prevent a project from moving forward.

In compliance with the County shelter in place directive, if an inspection is necessary to keep a project moving forward, city inspection staff will not enter households. Instead, the inspector will contact the owner/contractor and request photographs of the installation to be texted in order to perform the inspection.

Larger projects that do not require inspectors to enter a household will be conducted as usual while following safety protocols such as social distancing and wearing gloves and masks.

Still a Good Time to Go Solar

The resumption of construction permits is good news for Davis residents considering installing a rooftop solar system. While contractors generally handle permitting requirements, homeowners should stay up-to-date on current requirements for planning purposes. There’s no better time to consider going solar to power to your home. The federal tax credit is currently 26% of project costs. See the Cool Davis Rooftop Solar page for more details and our incentives page for other ways to save on cool home improvements.

Emily Severeid is currently serving as the CivicSpark Fellow for the City of Davis. Her project focuses on building capacity for climate resiliency and citywide outreach. She is also working with Cool Davis to support joint projects like our rooftop solar campaign.

Applying for a construction permit with the City of Davis as of May 4 2020

To apply for a construction permit with the City of Davis:

  1. Visit the Building page on the City website
  3. Select the fillable PDF form that matches your needs
  4. Email permit applications to:

Bob VanDyke:

Traci DiPinto:

For general inquiries: Call (530)757-5610 or email

City of Davis Resources

City of Davis Building Division COVID-19 operating guidelines

PDF: Application for Residential Building Permit

City of Davis COVID-19 Information

Yolo County Resources

Roadmap to Recovery

Yolo County Shelter-in-Place Order and Updates

Cool Davis and Partner Resources

Check out our new YouTube channel LiveCoolDavis

Rebates and Tax Credits webpage

Rooftop Solar webpage

Want to Add Solar Panels to Your New Home? Five Considerations – Cool Davis

Cool Solutions Planning Guide: Is Solar Right for Me? – Cool Davis

“Understanding Common Solar Installation Problems” – Citadel Roofing & Solar

National Roofing Week – Solar Roof Dynamics