The Lancaster City Council on Tuesday voted to make the city the first in the nation to require solar panels on all new homes in an effort to make the community more carbon neutral.
The city’s revised zoning code requires at least 1 kilowatt of solar capacity on the roofs of all new homes in Antelope Valley desert community starting Jan. 1, 2014. Installation of solar systems is not required on all homes within a subdivision, as long as the builder meets the total aggregate energy generation requirement within the subdivision.
Lancaster has developed a national reputation for encouraging solar technology by streamlining its permitting process, creating industry partnerships and incentives and installing solar technology on public buildings. While the new requirement won’t make the homes entirely carbon neutral, it’s designed to encourage developers to incorporate renewable energy generation and energy conservation into home designs, city officials said.
Lancaster has been “nationally and internationally recognized for our solar achievements,” Mayor R. Rex Parris said in a statement. “However, to truly establish ourselves as the alternative energy capital of the world, we must continue to take a progressive approach.”