City of Lancaster’s Residential Solar Ordinance Approved by California Energy Commission

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The California Energy Commission (CEC) has approved the City of Lancaster’s locally adopted energy standards which will require single family residential units built within Lancaster on or after January 1, 2014 to provide an average of 1 kilowatt (kW) of solar-generated electricity per housing unit. Having now been given the authority to enforce the ordinance, Lancaster is the first city in the nation to make residential solar mandatory. The new ordinance, adopted by the Lancaster City Council on March 26, 2013, was approved by the CEC on December 11, 2013.

“We continue to aggressively pursue net-zero status, and this approval by the CEC proves we are indeed on the right path,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “We are strongly committed to reducing our carbon footprint, while advancing green energy alternatives to traditional power resources. Requiring solar power assets for new residential construction in the coming years will bring Lancaster one huge step closer to becoming the Alternative Energy Capital of the World, while providing new homeowners with earth-friendly and cost-effective benefits.”Lancaster’s Residential Zoning Ordinance was comprehensively revised to require new home builders to meet the aggregate energy generation requirement within a production subdivision, though solar energy systems do not have to be on every home.

“I’ve had the opportunity to visit the City of Lancaster and meet the Mayor and some of the senior City staff,” commented CEC Commissioner Karen Douglas. “I just want to say that they are taking some very impressive leadership in the area of clean energy, and I’m pleased to see them arrive at this point… I’m looking forward to continued leadership from the City of Lancaster and continued partnership moving forward.”Shortly after the adoption of the General Plan Update in 2009, City staff began initial research on the Residential Zones update. An administrative draft was released in June 2011, followed by a public draft in January 2012. Following several outreach efforts and a series of public hearings, the Planning Commission adopted Resolution No. 13-01 on January 28, 2013, recommending to the City Council approval of the City’s Residential Zoning Ordinance. Other zoning code amendments for implementation of specific actions from the City’s Housing Element were also included in the resolution.

“The City of Lancaster remains at the forefront of innovative and progressive design and technologies because we realize these are crucial components of any thriving cutting-edge city,” added Mayor Parris. “Our Architectural and Design Commission conducted a comprehensive revision of the City’s previous design guidelines, creating yet another pathway for Lancaster’s future as a thriving community.

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