Exactly one week after San Francisco became the largest U.S. city to require rooftop solar installations on new buildings, Santa Monica followed with similar legislation. On April 26, the Santa Monica City Council approved an ordinance requiring rooftop solar systems for all new construction — both residential and commercial.
The measure, which goes into effect the last week of May, updates the Santa Monica Municipal Green Building Ordinance to require new single family dwellings to install a solar electric photovoltaic (PV) system “with a minimum total wattage of 1.5 times the square footage of the dwelling (1.5 watts per square foot).” The measure also requires new multi-family dwellings and non-residential, hotels and motels to install a solar PV system “with a minimum total wattage 2.0 times the square footage of the building footprint (2.0 watts per square foot of building footprint).”
“In Santa Monica we are moving away from buildings powered by fossil fuels in favor of clean and cost-effective solar energy,” said Dean Kubani, Santa Monica’s sustainability manager. “This is not only the smart thing to do, it is also imperative if we are to protect our kids and grandkids from the worst effects of climate change.”
According to the city’s Office of Sustainability & the Environment, Santa Monica will be the fourth city in the country to adopt a rooftop solar mandate for new buildings. In 2008, Culver City began to require solar systems on all new commercial buildings more than 10,000 square feet, while the cities of Lancaster and Sebastopol became the first two cities to require solar in 2013. San Francisco’s rooftop solar requirement goes into effect in January 2017.