Lancaster, CA becomes first city to mandate solar for new homes

This week, the Lancaster City Council voted to change the California city’s zoning code to require solar panels on all new homes.

A SolarCity installation in San Rafael, CA. Credit: SolarCity

A SolarCity installation in San Rafael, CA. Credit: SolarCity

The unanimous vote makes Lancaster the first city in the country to require that new homes produce solar energy.

“Lancaster is already strongly committed to furthering green energy and reducing our carbon footprint,” said Republican Mayor Rex Parris.

“However, to truly establish ourselves as the Alternative Energy Capital of the World, we must continue to take a progressive approach. I would like to commend our Planning Commission for this innovative revision of the Residential Zones, which will rapidly advance us towards becoming a net-zero City in record time.”

The approved Residential Zoning code will require that all new homes built after January 1, 2014 generate an average of 1 kilowatt (kW) of solar-generated power. A home can go without solar panels if the builder proves that solar energy credits will be bought from another development located within Lancaster.

And while the requirement won’t apply to homes within a subdivision, the builder will need to meet the overall solar power generation requirement for the block overall.

It’s just part of a suite of new standards that include other energy-saving design measures, all aimed at making Lancaster what Mayor Parris calls “the solar capital of the universe.”

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