New single- and multifamily housing projects in Fremont, CA, will be required to have solar panels and be wired for electric-vehicle charging, according to the East Bay Times.
The mandate comes from Fremont City Council as part of the state-wide effort to be net-zero by 2020 and could go into effect later this year once solar panel rules are set. It follows a local mandate for residential and commercial projects to have parking spots outfitted for EV charging.
Buildings up to 4,499 square feet in size will use a sliding scale to dictate the size of the solar panel system. Those larger than 4,499 square feet will use a separate scale.
Across the country, cities are making moves to transition operations to clean energy systems. Chicago has made plans to transition 900 city-owned buildings to entirely renewable energy by 2025, while Atlanta has its eyes set on 100% renewable energy by 2035. Atlanta's city-owned buildings, however, must reach that goal by 2025.
Solar, especially, is strengthening its foothold in the renewable energy market. Companies like Tesla, with its new solar shingle, aim to make the energy source more affordable and visually appealing, something the category has had trouble achieving to date. Meanwhile, many large homebuilders have teamed up with photovoltaic integrators to bring solar energy to their homes and communities.
Builders and photovoltaic manufacturers aren't the only ones who stand to gain from solar energy systems. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory found in a December 2006 study that houses equipped with solar panel systems, on average, sold 20% faster and for 17% more than neighboring houses without. Estimates from the Solar Energy Industry Association have solar installations being used by more than 1 million homes in 2016 — and that number could nearly quadruple by 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.