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Clean Power new SEIA report outlines military solar power

Published on May 22nd, 2013 | by Nicholas Brown


Solar Mandate Approved By Sebastopol, California

May 22nd, 2013 by  

There are many ways to go solar, and they all haven’t yet been tried — people are continually coming up with new ideas. But there are now some options that are so good that cities are beginning to mandate solar power with all new homes. The latest such city (of which we know) is Sebastopol, California. But Sebastopol has taken it a step further.

new SEIA report outlines military solar power

Military solar power in Afghanistan courtesy of SEIA.

As did the Californian city of Lancaster, Sebastopol, city in Western Sonoma County, California, has approved an ordinance that now mandates that new homes be constructed with solar panels. Unlike Lancaster, however, Sebastopol mandated it for new commercial buildings as well.

In the words of the ordinance itself: “All new residential and commercial buildings, and residential additions, remodels, and alterations that exceed seventy five percent of the structure will be required to install a solar photovoltaic system at the time of construction. The Council may establish an in lieu fee for projects that cannot achieve full compliance.”

The power consumption of commercial buildings is just as important as that of homes, and sometimes far more important. Commercial buildings often use many times more power than houses, as some of them are factories or office buildings in which there are tens or hundreds of computers, many air conditioners, and all kinds of other electricity-needy machines. Many of these machines run all day and even throughout the night. So, this is a pretty big step forward from Lancaster’s mandate. If Lancaster is to really become the “solar energy capital of the world,” as Republican Mayor Rex Parris has envisioned, it looks like it might need to step up its mandate.

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About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is: Kompulsa.com.

  • I love the theory

    Maybe minimum of 4 kw reidential 8 kw commercial?

    Devil is in the details.
    I would point out that meeting any percentage of your energy use is easier for residential. Large multistory factories have finite roof space but lots of room for servers AC, power equipment that most homes do not have.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Parking lots.

      Non-performing assets. Put solar panels over them and help your bottom line.

  • James Wimberley

    I think Don is being too pessimistic. To comply minimally with the ordinance, you have to put one panel on the roof, plus wiring, an inverter, and other electrics. This is not cost-effective, and both householders and businesses get much better value for money by installing a bigger system. The solar installers they have to contact will tell them this, and make it obvious in their quotes. So that’s what most will do.

    • jeffhre

      I saw a list of applications in Lancaster today. Although code says 1.5 KW average, the applications are generally coming in at 4 to 6 KW, showing that what you predicted appears to be happening.

  • Don

    Can any one explain further on this ordinance.

    What is the ordinance legal requirement under the act which require that greenhouse reduction, is it 20 ton a years? Because I can’t find any legal requirement under ordinance of the act that state how much reduction is required under county jurisdiction, there is no time frame in place or any figure of reduction.
    You need to set levels of reduction other wise you don’t have to meet any reduction at all, as long as there is solar on the rooftop, its lawful.

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