Clean Power

Published on March 4th, 2013 | by James Ayre


Solar Power Required On Every New Home — Pioneering Requirement From Lancaster, California

March 4th, 2013 by  

A first-of-its-kind requirement for solar power systems is going to be implemented in Lancaster, California. The requirement is that solar power systems be installed on all new single-family homes within the city. Furthermore, this announcement comes from a Republican mayor.

solar on every new home california

All newly-built single-family homes within Lancaster will be required to feature solar power systems starting on January 1, 2014. This is a rather stunning announcement in itself, but the fact that it comes from a Republican is even more surprising. Mayor Rex Parris is a big solar power advocate, though. You may have heard of him already, as he has previously stated his intention to make Lancaster “the solar energy capital of the world.”

The new requirements “will be written into Lancaster’s ‘Residential Zones Update’ on residential solar,” Greentech Media reports. In addition to a variety of new requirements having to do with energy efficiency and green building practices, new single family homes will have to meet minimum solar energy system requirements.

“The purpose of the solar energy system standards,” it states, “is to encourage investment in solar energy on all parcels in the city, while providing guidelines for the installation of those systems that are consistent with the architectural and building standards of the City.” It’s also intended “to provide standards and procedures for builders of new homes to install solar energy systems in an effort to achieve greater usage of alternative energy.”

Specifically, residential homes on lots larger than 7,000 square feet will need to possess a system of 1.0–1.5 kilowatts. And residential homes in rural areas of up to 100,000 square feet need to possess a system of at least 1.5 kilowatts.

Homebuilders have the option of forgoing these requirements if they provide proof of the purchase of solar energy credits from a solar energy development that is located within the city.

This is an interesting strategy for the mayor, potentially driving a lot of local economic growth. 2014 isn’t that far off. It will be interesting to see the reactions that other mayors and politicians have to this.

Image Credit: Solar Rooftop via Flickr

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

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  • Hans

    The danger of this kind of regulation is that the home owners will try to satisfy the the rules at the lowest possible cost, resulting in a lot of cheap, but poor functioning, systems.

  • Dr Green

    This is great news for the people of California.It will help them in creating their own power and make a sizeable reduction in their monthly costs.

  • tmac1

    Sign me up
    I’m moving!

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  • Ronald Brakels

    This is great news. It’s simple acts like this that change society’s relationship to energy and fossil fuels.

  • I’m surprised the Right doesn’t make this against federal law or something…


  • This is the first new law I’ve seen in perhaps decades that I agree with.

  • Ross Chandler

    As renewable energy becomes more main stream we’ll see more of this sort of thing as the fossil fuel vested interests lose their grip on the GOP.

  • JustSaying

    Yes the min is very low. But it is on all new single homes. And if I’m adding 1.5Kw maybe I go ahead and look at adding what I really need. Plus it will be in the mortage so the builder can say wel each $1k increase in the home price is only $10/moth (or whatever it is at todays rates) so why not get the 7Kw system. Plus the more I see in my zipcode the more likely I amd to get one myself.

    • Otis11

      This. Also, as solar installations become more and more prevalent regardless of size, soft-costs will drop dramatically.

      Look forward to seeing how this turns out.

  • xboxman

    am i reading this right ?? a Republican came up with this great idea ???

  • Yes, a 1.5kW system is just 6 or 7 panels, and it would be able to provide about 25-40% of a typical house. But what it would do is cover a big piece of the A/C demand during the summer. So, that makes them a very good thing.

    But a 3-4kW requirement would be a lot better. And any household with an EV should put 5-6kW system on their roof.


  • anderlan

    I’d feel better if this said “lots greater than 7000sqft that receive >X MJoules of irradiance per year”. So you didn’t have any panels installed producing nothing, and so no one felt compelled to chomp old trees in the way. I’d be all for a reg that basically tried to put any and all sufficiently irradiated space toward either food production or power generation.

  • Guest

    1.5kW aint nothin like the load from a 7000sqft house unless it meets passivhaus already. Even then,it wouldn’t get to net zero. It pains me to say, this is just a giveaway.

    • JustSaying

      That was a lot size of 7000sqft the home would a lot smaller.

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