A City Council in California has unanimously voted to mandate solar on new buildings.
Located in Sonoma County, Sebastopol is the second city in the country to require all new homes and commercial buildings to have solar PV systems.
The building code will require all new homes and commercial buildings to have a solar system that generates 2 watts of PV energy per square foot of insulated area, or offset three quarters of the total yearly electricity use. If solar is not a practical option, buildings can use other alternatives or pay a fee.
Solar Panels on the Sebastopol Fire Department building. Credit: Solar Works
According to the Press Democrat, Sebastopol Mayor Michael Kyes had hoped to be the first city in the country to mandate solar – a hope that was dashed when Lancaster, in Los Angeles County, passed a similar regulation earlier this year.
“We were going to be number one,” Mayor Kyes said. “Now we’re number two.” The paper also reported that Mayor Kyes highlighted the fact that Sebastopol is “liberal” while Lancaster is a “Republican community,” showing that solar is accepted across the political spectrum.
The ordinance still has to get final approval from the council; it will go into effect 60 days after that occurs.