The San Diego Board of Supervisors has voted to require all contractors building single family homes in the unincorporated areas around the city of San Diego to make them ready for solar panels and electric cars. That means the wiring to support a photovoltaic system and a recharging system for an EV must be installed during construction. Doing so during the building process costs a lot less money than making upgrades to the electrical service after the home is completed.

Solar panel array in southern California by Fernando Tomás/ Wiki Commons  This marks the first time that a municipality has made solar preparedness part of its building code requirements for new construction. Developers will need to install electrical panels of at least 200 amps, with space reserved for solar power and electric vehicle charging circuits; put in wiring for solar panels and EV chargers, and reserve at least 250 square feet on a south-facing roof for solar panels. Houses without south-facing roofs would be exempt.

Supervisor Dave Roberts told the Times of San Diego the amendments will add about $300-$400 to the price of a new home “which, when you look at the cost to do this after the fact, it’s really inexpensive, and I think greatly will add to the value of the home.”

California currently leads the nation in home solar installations, thanks in large part to significant state tax credits that make the cost of a residential solar very attractive for home owners. The state is also encouraging utility companies to invest in renewable energy projects such as the 550 megawatt solar installation recently completed in Riverside county and another installation in southern California that is adding 250 megawatts of power to the grid.

In addition to adding to the supply of pollution free electric power, California’s push for renewable power has also added 15,000 well paying jobs to the state’s economy for installation workers and electrical technicians. San Diego is showing that it is now fully on board with the switch from fossil fuels to clean, reliable energy. Its actions may lead other communities to follow San Diego’s lead.