First U.S. City Requiring Solar (Lancaster, CA).We Need More Mayors Like Mayor Parris!


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

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I was ecstatic upon reading this news that I’ve decided to take a break from our reporting on Feed-In-Tariff. Below is the reason:

Fantastic news! Talk about leadership and initiative! The California City Council of Lancaster unanimously approved changes to the city’s zoning code that require housing developers to install solar for all of their future new homes. This is the latest piece in what Republican Mayor R. Rex Parris described at the City Council meeting as a plan to make Lancaster, CA, “The solar capital of the universe.”

The official Residential Zones Update of Lancaster now specifies, along with a range of green building provisions, that new single family homes meet minimum solar system requirements in the same way that they must meet minimum parking space requirements. “The purpose of the solar energy standards 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 is further intended to “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.”

For lots of 7,000 sq ft or more residential homes, they must have a solar system of 1.0-1.5 kw (kilowatts). Rural  residential homes of up to 100,000 sq ft must have a system of at least 1.5 kw.

Besides some simple, commonsense rules for both roof-mounted and ground-mounted system, there are also some interesting issues:

  • A builder’s model home must show the kind of solar system the builder will offer.
  • Builders of subdivisions will be able to aggregate the houses’ requirements. If ten houses in a subdivision each have a one kilowatt requirement, the builder can install a single ten-kilowatt system, two five-kilowatt systems or four 2.5-kilowatt systems.
  • If a housing tract is built in phases, each phase must meet the requirement.
  • Multifamily developments can meet the requirement with a rooftop system or a system on a support or shade structure.
  • Builders “may choose to meet the solar energy generation requirement off-site by providing evidence of purchasing solar energy credits from another solar-generating development located within the city.”

Lancaster, with a population of about 150,000, built approximately 200 new homes in 2012 and on tract to build just as many (or more) in 2013, which translates into 200 more kilowatts of rooftop solar. ¬†“In Lancaster, a solar installer is issued a permit within fifteen minutes,” Mayor Parris said, “but eight miles south in Palmdale, it takes two months.”

Allow me to introduce you to Mayor Lancaster in this next video clip:

Parris’ next targets will be:

  • Requiring all new homes to meet LEED certification standards
  • Requiring grey water systems on all new homes
  • Requiring, when partner BYD’s batteries are certified, battery systems for new homes’ solar systems so they would be energy-independent for up to four days, and
  • Using LED bulbs and batteries so the city’s street lights will be entirely off-grid.

Parris commented, “The salvation of this planet, if it is not already too late, will be from the bottom up, and there is no reason Lancaster can’t be the example for the world.”

Hear! Hear! Mayor Parris! We need more local leaderships and city mayors such as Mayor Parris. Will political leaders in San Francisco, Los Angeles and various other parts of the USA also consider taking this step, doing the right thing for all of our future?

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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