City of Lancaster - Mandatory Solar Requirement for New Homes

June 08, 2020


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

Program Overview

Implementing Sector: Local
Category: Regulatory Policy
State: California
Incentive Type: Building Energy Code
Web Site:
Start Date:
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
  • Solar Photovoltaics
Residential Code: Specific system size requirements for photovoltaic systems vary according to zone and lot type


Name: Code of Ordinances § 17.08.305
Effective Date: 01/01/2014


Name: Building Permit Authority
Address: 44933 N. Fern Avenue
Lancaster CA 93534
Phone: (661) 723-6144

This information is sourced from DSIRE; the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.