Proposed CA bill would require solar panels on 15% of new buildings

Dive Brief:

  • California Senator Scott Wiener has introduced legislation that would require 15% of certain new buildings constructed in the state to be equipped with solar power equipment.

  • The solar equipment could include either solar panels or solar heated water.

  • The law would apply to all residential and commercial buildings, but not to buildings over 10 stories tall.

Dive Insight:

Wiener’s law is modeled on a San Francisco ordinance that he introduced last year when he was a member of the city’s board of supervisors.

That law requires 15% of all new buildings, unless they are higher than 10 stories, must be “solar ready,” that is, the roof space must be unshaded by the proposed building and free of obtrusions. (Buildings taller than 10 stories require significantly more rooftop equipment and thus make solar more challenging.)

Wiener’s new bill would extend that law state wide and require that those roofs are “solar installed,” not just solar ready.

In a blog, Wiener said, “California must lead on climate,” and said his law would make California the first state in the nation to require solar panels on new buildings, building on the state's ambitious climate goals and renewables mandate. 

The California Solar Initiative, also known as Million Solar Roofs, implemented in 2007, aimed to install about 2,000 MW of solar power on residential and commercial projects by 2016.The program wound down in 2014 when the state's investor-owned utilities exhausted the available incentives. The program exceeded the targets set at inception by hundreds of megawatts.

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Filed Under: Solar & Renewables Distributed Energy Regulation & Policy
Top image credit: Flickr; Evan Blaser