Lancaster adopts new ZNE home ordinance that expands on solar requirements


“The City of Lancaster has always prided itself on being a City of firsts – we continue to do so as we pave the way in the sustainable energy sphere,” said Mayor R. Rex Parris. Mayor Parris is referring to the new zero net energy home ordinance adopted by city leaders in January 2017, which mandates that all builders install a solar system equal to two watts per square foot for each new home built.

“This is a great stride in Lancaster’s journey to become a Zero Net City,” Parris said. Builders will have three options available to comply with the new requirement, including:

  • Installing a solar component where the size of the system is based on the size of each home constructed – two watts per square foot — offering a zero-balance energy bill for the homeowner.
  • Paying a zero net energy mitigation/in lieu fee equal to $1.40 per square feet of each constructed home. As a benefit for the homeowner with this option, the homeowner receives credits for the new Lancaster Choice Energy ZNE Home Rate which provides the homeowner with a 50% discount on the energy generation portion of their LCE bill for 20 years.
  • The third choice is a combination of the two options listed above. Instead of the size of the solar installation being determined by the square footage of the home, builders can install a two kilowatt (2,000 watt) solar system on each new home of 1,000 square feet or less. For larger homes, the builder then pays a ZNE mitigation/in lieu fee of $1.40 for the remaining square footage of the home. As with option two, the homeowner will receive the LCE ZNE Home Rate – a 50% discount on their generation rate for the next 20 years.

Since this ordinance is more stringent than state code, the city has developed a feasibility study for review and approval by the California Energy Commission (CEC) before it becomes Lancaster code.

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