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We’ve heard of mandatory recycling and composting, but mandatory solar panels? Lancaster, California — a small city of about 150,000 people in the high desert near Los Angeles — is planning to update its residential zoning code to require homebuilders to add solar panels to all new-construction homes. The move was announced by Republican mayor Rex Parris while speaking at an event hosted by Lancaster homebuilder KB Home. The new requirement would require all new-construction single-family homes built after January 1, 2014 to include at lease a 1.0 kilowatt solar system.

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This isn’t the first time that Lancaster has made headlines for its investment in solar energy. In 2010, the town partnered with SolarCity to develop about 27 megawatts of solar energy to power City Hall, local parks, and a variety of businesses and residences. All that solar is expected to earn the city $1.5 million per year for the next five years,and $800,000 per year after that. The building industry is reportedly resisting the change to Lancaster’s zoning code, according to GreenTech Media, but Mayor Parris, who has made it his goal to make Lancaster the ‘solar energy capital of the world,’ is confident that the city council will approve the measure.

The zoning code updates will require homes that are built on lots larger than 7,000 square feet to include a solar system of 1.0–1.5 kilowatts. Homes that are located on rural lots that have more than 100,000 square feet will be required to have a solar system of at least 1.5 kilowatts.

“The purpose of the solar energy system standards is to encourage investment in solar energy on all parcels in the city, while providing guidelines for the installation of those systems that are consistent with the architectural and building standards of the City,” reads Lancaster’s new Lancaster’s Residential Zones Update. The document continues to outline some basic rules for installing both roof-mounted and ground-mounted solar energy systems.

Via GreenTech Media and Cleantechnica