CalFire Setbacks

Example 1: Simple Gable Roof

As reg reads:

Each of the two planes must have 3’-3’-3’ setbacks. So the southern roof in this picture can hold only 18 250-watt panels.

Factors to Consider:

  • It’s a gable roof, so there are only two planes, and they are opposite each other. So if one plane is perfect for solar, the other is — by definition — lousy. And that’s what we see here. The northern roof is completely available to firefighting crews.
  • This particular structure is pressed against the backyard fence. That means that firefighting crews will approach it from the north — with perfect access to the northern (panel-free) roof.
  • It’s a small structure, so it’s unlikely that access would be determined by the location of the fire within the structure.
  • This particular community does not have a history of prevailing winds that would prompt a fire crew to want access from the north side.


This is a circumstance where 100% of the north roof should be available for solar panels.

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