U.S. Mayor Pushes For Mandatory Solar

If the Mayor of Lancaster, California, has his way, all new homes constructed in his region will need to have solar power systems installed.

R. Rex Parris is not alone in his vision – while there is some resistance to the idea, it seems the initiative has the votes needed to pass appropriate legislation. If approved, the law will apply to any home built after Jan. 1, 2014.

It seems the Mayor’s primary motivation isn’t so much about helping households slash their power bills, but of an environmental nature. According to E&E Publishing, Mayor Parris believes “there isn’t any greater crisis facing the world today” than global warming.

Parris has had a goal of making Lancaster “the solar capital of the world” since he was elected in 2008.

The Mayor’s passion for solar panels was further stoked after a visit to BYD’s Solar Village in Shenzhen, China in 2010. When Parris return to Lancaster, he explored ways to make solar far more prominent in his community.

Various initiatives were launched, including the construction of a prototype modestly priced energy-efficient home designed to generate more power than it uses.

In July 2010, the City of Lancaster launched the Solar Lancaster program – an affordable solar financing program that saw the uptake of solar power systems skyrocket.

The City has taken other steps toward a new lofty goal of making Lancaster one of the first “Net Zero Cities” in the world; meaning it will produce as much energy from sustainable sources, such as solar energy, as it consumes.

Lancaster has around 1 gigawatt of renewable energy capacity, enough to supply about 200,000 homes – far more capacity than is required for its estimated 156,000 residents.

Lancaster being located in California has certainly assisted in its solar aspirations. The state has mandated that by 2020, one-third of all electricity generated by utilities must come from green sources.