The small city of Sebastopol, California has become the second community in the state to require that all new residential homes and business buildings include a solar system. The city is home to approximately 7,200 residents and 1.2 MW of installed solar capacity. On May 7th, the City Council of Sebastopol passed its provision, which is less than two months after Lancaster, California established a similar requirement. Sebastopol Councilman Patrick Slayter, co-author of the rule, says the city has been pursuing solar for years. He notes that every city facility has a PV array on it, and solar retrofits are commonplace in the region. Community representatives and local businesses also came together back in 2002 to establish an advocacy group, Solar Sebastopol, which later became a countywide nonprofit program known as Solar Sonoma County. Slater states, “Having rooftop space available, with unencumbered solar access essentially from sunrise to sunset, but not considering having a PV array on it – that just seems unconscionable to me.”
There are many rules established by this provision including that any new commercial or residential building is required to have a solar array and will also apply to new major additions or remodels. Also, builders who choose not to follow the new solar ordinance – or those for whom a solar installation is not feasible, due to such factors as shading – will be required to pay an in-lieu fee, which has yet to be determined. This news has been very easily and openly accepted by the residents of this town and they are very excited to see the evolvement of residential and commercial solar in the near future.
Source: City Requires Solar On All New Homes And Businesses, by Joseph Bebon, May 14, 2013