Solar Panels on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

If you’re considering adding an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) to your property in California, there are some recent changes in our state’s building code you need to know. As of January 1st, 2020, the California Energy Commission (CEC) outlined the updates to the California Building Standards Code to include new methods to meet net-zero electricity guidelines. This update is under Title 24, Part 6, of the California Code of Regulations. So, what does this mean when it comes to adding solar panels on accessory dwelling units? Let’s find out! 


The California Solar Mandate

New construction, alterations, renovations, additions, and repairs to commercial and residential property buildings must meet these energy-efficient guidelines, including using solar energy to offset the electrical usage. California is the first state in the U.S. to require solar photovoltaic systems to help increase energy efficiency, promote sustainability, and save consumers money. For accessory dwelling units to comply with the new state mandate, permit applications need to include Title 24 calculations in addition to evaluations, design, and site plans.


What Does This Mean for ADUs?

According to the California Department of Housing, newly constructed ADUs are subject to the requirements and need to provide solar panels. This includes ADUs that are newly constructed, non-manufactured, and detached from the primary unit. You can install the solar panels either on the primary home or the ADU. They’re most commonly attached to the roof since this provides the greatest access to sunlight. However, if you own a large piece of property or have vacant space, you can install your photovoltaic cells elsewhere as long as nothing obstructs the panels.


If the accessory dwelling unit is attached to the main house or converted from a non-residential to a residential space (ex. garage conversion), they are not subject to the requirements. In that case, they don’t require solar panels. 


Solar Panel Benefits

We’re happy to say that solar panels come with many, many benefits. One of the main reasons we love them is because they’re a 100% clean, renewable energy source! Each homeowner and business with solar panels is helping reduce air pollution, greenhouse gases, and their carbon footprint. It’s a great way to invest in the future of our planet and protect the environment! Additionally, residential solar panels have the capability to provide electrical needs to an entire home with around 80% less carbon emissions than fossil fuels.


It’s not only good for the environment but your wallet as well! The new energy efficiency standards are lowering Californians’ natural gas and electricity bills. Homeowners can benefit from the federal tax credits for adding solar panels, potentially getting thousands of dollars back! Plus, adding solar panels will increase your home’s property value, making it more attractive to buyers if you ever decide to sell your home. If you’re able to rent out your ADU, the cost savings from solar panels will make it more desirable for prospective tenants as well.


Sunlight Solar Inc.

You can trust that the team at Sunlight Solar Inc. is well versed in everything solar! We help equip your home or ADU following California’s new building code mandate. You’ll save money, help the environment, and reduce your carbon footprint; it’s a win-win! If you have any questions about adding solar panels on accessory dwelling units, we’re happy to help! You can reach us by calling (858) 360-8295 or filling out our contact form on our website. We can set up a free consultation to discuss the benefits of going solar and the estimated costs of adding them to your property!


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