The Washington State Building Code Council last week unanimously approved a change in state law allowing the installation of simple rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems without review by an engineer.

This change removes an estimated $500 to $2,500 in project costs and up to eight weeks of wait time for homeowners without compromising structural safety, according to Tim Stearns, Senior Energy Policy Specialist at the State Energy Office in the Department of Commerce.

Some jurisdictions already permitted installation of rooftop solar without engineering, but this brings consistency statewide.

The move supports work of Northwest Solar Communities, a coalition of jurisdictions, utilities, industry partners and citizen groups working together to make rooftop solar electricity more cost effective for all.

The state building code change was approved using the Emergency Rulemaking process, making it effective on July 1, 2014. It will still have to complete the normal rulemaking process which includes public hearings this fall, a Council vote to make it a permanent rule in November and going through next year's legislative session.