A Toronto pilot project to turn rooftops into solar water heaters is caught in a bureaucratic squeeze at city hall as building officials try to adjust to the demand of green initiatives, according to residents and the city's partner in the project.

The "Solar Neighbourhoods" program, a city initiative along with the Toronto Atmospheric Fund, features the installation of solar water heaters about the size of a coffee table on rooftop panels. The solar hot water systems can run up to $8,000.

So far about 600 families have expressed an interest in the pilot project, but none of the rooftop panels have been installed yet.             

Dealing with city and provincial requirements has been a slog, said Mary Pickering, the Toronto Atmospheric Fund's associate director.

"This wasn't in mind when the code was developed, and the code was developed to support other kinds of things, satellite dishes, going on your roof," Pickering told CBC News. 

"There's certain limitations that were set for all kinds of reasons, and they're kind of out of step with the reality of what you need in place for solar thermal panels."

Peg Lahn, who lives in the Riverdale neighbourhood, told CBC News she is eager to get started.

"I was sitting in my office looking out of the window at a beautiful sunny day knowing that at home I'm paying for natural gas to heat water in a tank that I'm not using and won't be using for another few hours," she said. "That doesn't make sense to me."            

An official with the city's building department said the city is trying to cut through the red tape and streamline requirements for homeowners.