U.S. Department of Energy Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

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July 30, 2012
Q.

Do any communities require developers to build “solar-ready” homes? 

A.

A growing number of communities are either requiring or incentivizing the construction of “solar-ready” homes. In essence, the phrase “solar ready” means that the home is constructed in such a way that installing and connecting a solar energy system (whether photovoltaic or solar thermal) does not require additional wiring, plumbing, or building modification.

Typically, when communities elect to require solar-ready homes, they add provisions to the local building code. Alternately, some communities use their development regulations to incentivize solar-ready homes by making solar-ready construction eligible for a density bonus.

Examples from PAS EIP-30

  • Chula Vista (California), City of. 2011. Municipal Code. Title 15, Buildings and Construction; Chapter 15.24, Electrical Code and Regulations;Section 15.24.065, Photovoltaic Pre-Wiring Requirements. Chapter 15.28, Plumbing Code; Section 15.28.015, Solar Water Heater Pre-Plumbing. Code Publishing Company: Seattle, Wash.
  • Henderson (Nevada), City of. 2011. Development Code. Chapter 19.7, Development and Design Standards; Section 19.7.12, Sustainability; Table 19.7.12-1, Menu of Site and Building Design Options for Sustainability, part 1.9: Solar-Ready Design.
  • Oro Valley (Arizona), Town of. 2009. Ordinance No. (O)09-11: An Ordinance of the Mayor and Council of the Town of Oro Valley, Amending Chapter 6, Article 6-1-7, "Residential Code" Otherwise Known as the "2006 International Residential Code" to Add a "Residential Solar Ordinance" Requiring Installation of Solar Ready Measures in Residential Construction.
  • Rancho Palos Verdes (California), City of. 2011. Municipal Code. Title 15, Buildings and Construction; Chapter 15.04, Building Code; Section 15.04.070, Renewable Energy Systems. Tallahassee, Fla.: Municipal Code Corporation.
  • Tucson (Arizona), City of. 2008. Ordinance No. 10549: Relating to Buildings and Construction: Requiring New Single Family and Duplex Residential Dwelling Units to Provide for Future Installation of Solar Energy Devices; "Residential Plan Review: Solar Ready Ordinance"; Ordinance No. 10605: Relating to Buildings and Construction: Amending the International Residential Code 2006…by Adding Local Amendments to Chapter 23, Section M2301, Solar Energy Systems.

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