City of Lancaster Zero Net Energy Home Ordinance Effective January 1, 2018
The City of Lancaster’s California Energy Commission–approved Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Home Ordinance goes into effect on January 1, 2018. The first of its kind in California, the Ordinance mandates the installation of a solar system equivalent to two watts per square foot for each new home built. The City is providing three options by which homebuilders can comply with the new regulation.
“This is about building out a truly sustainable community. We are trying to encourage production and opportunity, while also but shifting the primary basis for the way things traditionally get done,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “Zero net energy homes are better for the environment, provide homeowners tremendous savings in energy costs, and forge a new standard for development projects that should be centered around improving future outcomes for world communities. It is our hope that what we are doing and requiring of our constituents truly impacts other municipalities and their outlook regarding local developments.”
The three builder options available for ZNE Home Ordinance compliance include providing a solar component on each new home; offering mitigation fees to homeowners, in lieu of a solar component; or arranging for a combination of both option one and two. The homeowner benefits from any of these options.
The first option -- which is to install a solar component comprising two watts per square foot, based on the size of each home constructed -- generates a zero-balance energy bill for the homeowner.
The second option allows builders to pay a Zero Net Energy mitigation/in lieu fee equal to $1.40 per square feet of each constructed home. The homeowner receives credits for the new Lancaster Choice Energy (LCE) ZNE Home Rate, which provides the homeowner with a 50% discount on the energy generation portion of their LCE bill for 20 years. The discounted rate only applies to LCE’s energy generation portion of the consumer’s electricity bill, and not to Southern California Edison’s transmission and delivery portion.
The builder’s third option combines the two methods listed above, permitting the installation of only a two-kilowatt (2,000 watt) solar system on each new home of 1,000 square feet or less. Homeowners of larger homes receive the ZNE mitigation/in lieu fee of $1.40 for the remaining square footage exceeding 1,000 square feet. As with option two, the homeowner also receives the LCE ZNE Home Rate of 50% off their generation rate for the next 20 years.“The City is offering several options to help homebuilders determine which offering best accommodates their buildout plans,” Mayor Parris added. “Through this initiative, we hope to motivate more builders to transition to sustainable practices. Plain and simple, this is the only logical step forward, both environmentally and economically, for any truly progressive community that values the livability of its infrastructure for future generations.”