Solar Hot Water Systems

The Ontario Building Code distinguishes between Solar Domestic Hot Water (SDHW) systems that are factory-packaged and non-packaged systems.

Before you begin

A factory-packaged SDHW system generally consists of a complete series of assembled components which provide solar pre-heated water to a domestic hot water storage tank through the use of solar thermal collectors, heat transfer exchangers (utilizing a liquid heat transfer media and potable water) and includes all appropriate plumbing and electrical controls to affect the transfer. Non-packaged systems refer to the series of individual components that make up a SDHW system not specifically produced to be used in a proprietary system.

Development Information Officers

In order to provide effective service to clients, the Development Information service is changing, as of August 1, 2023, in-person service will be available by appointment only.  If you require the services of a Development Information Officer, please call 613-580-2424 ext.23434 or email, include the subject address, proposed use, and other pertinent information relevant to the inquiry.  Upon receipt of the inquiry, a phone call or an email response will be provided within 2 to 3 business days, in the event more information is required there will be options to allow for further discussion.

Cost and timeline

Approximate cost

Refer to Applicable Fees

The building permit fee is based on valuation of the proposed construction, which includes the total cost of all materials, labour, equipment, overhead and related services (ie. design and consulting services) assigned to the supply and installation of the system and any building modifications.

Approximate timeline

Approximate Timeline based on City Council approved enhanced service level:

  • First review - 5 business days for residential buildings
  • First review - 10 business days for large residential and Commercial commercial buildings

What you need

Non-packaged SDHW systems

A professional engineer licensed in the Province of Ontario must certify that the proposed non-packaged SDHW system conforms with the intent of CSA F379.1-09, the referenced standards applicable to SDHW components listed in Table 1 of the standard and the intent of the requirements for SDHW systems in the Ontario Building Code. Building permit submission documents must include a statement of compliance to the above reference documents.

Factory-packaged SDHW systems

Packaged SDHW systems in possession of a Certificate of Compliance from CSA International in accordance with CSA F379.1-09, Solar Domestic Hot Water Systems (liquid-to-liquid heat transfer) are exempt from the requirements above.

Installation requirements for all SDHW systems

  1. Installation of the system must be undertaken by a qualified installer certified by the Canadian Solar Energy Industry Association. As an interim measure to obtaining installer certification from CANSIA the installation must comply with item 2 below.
  2. Compliance of the installation to “good engineering practice” must be confirmed by a professional engineer licensed in the Province of Ontario.

Required inspections

When the installation is complete, your work must be inspected to ensure that the construction complies with the Ontario Building Code. The permit plans and specifications must be on site and made available to the Building Inspector at the time of inspection. To ensure the availability of a Building Inspector, you should book your inspection 48 hours in advance. The Building Inspector name and phone number is identified on the building permit. Failure to have the appropriate inspection performed may result in Orders issued.


Building Code Service counters are open for personal services by appointment only. This includes the submission of permit applications, payment of fees and the issuance of permits. 

There are various methods for submitting applications.

Application Forms: Application for a Permit to Construct or Demolish