Program City of Lancaster - Mandatory Solar Requirement for New Homes
Category Regulatory Policy
Implementing sector Local
Last Update
State California
Technologies Solar Photovoltaics
Sectors Residential

In 2013 The City of Lancaster became the first U.S. city to require photovoltaics (PV) to be installed on new homes. All residential buildings with a building permit issuance date of January 1, 2014 or later must have a certain amount of photovoltaics (PV) installed. The specific system size requirements vary according to zone and lot type:

Building Type Zone/Lot Type System SizeRequirement
Rural Residential  RR 2.5 1.5 kW
Rural Residential RR-1 1.5 kW
Rural Residential SRR 1.5 kW
Single-family Residential R-15,000 1.5 kW
Single-family Residential R-10,000 1.25 kW
Single-family Residential R-7,000 1.0 kW
Single-family Residential Infill R-7,000 (with RPD) 0.75 kW
Single-family Residential Infill R-7,000 (alley access with RPD) 0.50 kW
Single-family Residential SFR Corner Duplex 1.0 kW
Small apartment/condominium building/complex (two to fifteen (15) units) MDR or HDR 0.50 kW
Large apartment/condominium building/complex (sixteen (16) or more units) MDR or HDR 0.50 kW


PV is not required on all homes within a production subdivision, but the builder must meet the aggregate requirement within the subdivision. For example, one house with twice the required PV can meet the requirement of two houses. Homebuilders may also meet the requirement off-site by providing evidence of purchasing solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) from a system located within the city. 

The 2016 California Building Codes, including the Building Code, Residential Code, Electrical Code, Mechanical Code, Plumbing Code, Energy Code, Fire Code, and the Green Building Standards Code, become mandatory throughout the State of California on January 1, 2017. Lancaster has amended these codes and adopted them as the Lancaster Codes for Buildings and Construction

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