Description: In 2013, Lancaster, CA became the first city in the U.S. to require housing developers to install solar photovoltaics (PV) with every new home they build. This was accomplished when the City Council unanimously voted to modify the city’s zoning code to require that homes built on residential lots above a minimum area include a solar PV system with a capacity of 1 kW or more.
Later, Lancaster passed a zero net energy home ordinance that amended the 2016 Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards. It requires solar energy systems for new detached single family homes to achieve zero net energy requirements. For multi-family developments the solar energy system can be provided on rooftops, or on solar support/shade structures.
Following Lancaster’s example, the California Energy Commission in 2018 modified the Building Energy Efficiency Standards to require new homes to include a PV system with a minimum capacity of 2 to 3 kilowatts, depending on the size of the home.
Goal: California Reach Code for solar PV to offset building energy use
Measurement: Percentage decrease in building energy use compared to California Title 24 standards
Time to Implement:
Lancaster 2016 Reach Code
Lancaster, CA Becomes First US City to Require Solar
State of California follows Lancaster in requiring all new home to include PV
For other local building code amendments, also see:
California local building code amendments (2019 code)