Fremont, California, home to Tesla’s factory, will soon require all new construction homes be built with solar panels and provisioned for electric vehicle charging stations. The Fremont City Council approved a change last week that will move California one step closer to its goal to become a net-zero energy state by 2020.
Homes with zero net energy produce as much energy as they consume, generally through a mix of high efficiency solar panels that produce clean onsite energy and the use of energy-efficient appliances, devices, and, of course, electric cars. Arguably, there’s no better place to push for this movement than in Tesla’s own backyard where the electric car company and energy storage provider is set to debut, what many are anticipating to be, the beginning of a global change in transportation – Model 3.
As of last Tuesday, the Fremont City Council is pushing for a mandate that will require solar panel installations on both single-family and multifamily housing. The size of the solar system will largely be determined by the size of the home, up to 4,499 square-foot homes. Larger homes will still be subject to the requirement, according to East Bay Times, though the specifics have yet to be outlined.
Fremont’s sustainability coordinator, Rachel DiFranco, notes that the state buildings standards and energy commissions is expected to sign off on solar panel rules in a few months. DiFranco tells East Bay Times that residential and commercial developments will also be “EV ready”, meaning they will be provisioned with high amperage circuitry to support the installation of an electric vehicle charging station.
“Right now, we have over 5,000 EV drivers in Fremont, and we’d really like to see that number continue to grow and multiply over the next handful of years,” said DiFranco.
This isn’t the first time local measures has required new construction to have energy-efficient devices. San Francisco passed legislation in 2016 that required buildings that are 10 stories or less be installed with solar panels.
Tesla acquired SolarCity last year as it looks to create the world’s only integrated sustainable energy company, from energy generation to storage to transportation. The Elon Musk-led company has recently begun selling its new slim low-profile solar panel and expected to begin production on its revolutionary glass Solar Roof tile within two months.