Davis goes solar: City votes to require panels on new commercial construction

Student housing in Davis generates its own energy using rooftop solar panels.
Student housing in Davis generates its own energy using rooftop solar panels. aalfaro@sacbee.com

Davis will now require all new commercial buildings and high-rise multifamily dwellings to have solar panels and be wired for electric-vehicle charging.

The City Council passed the Green Reach Code on April 9. It requires new buildings to generate about 80% of the electricity they use with solar panels, according to a news release.

This new ordinance builds on a 2014 law that required all new single-family homes to be built with solar power, essentially requiring all new construction now to have solar power.

“The City of Davis was one of the first cities to require photovoltaic systems on all new single-family residential construction,” said Mayor Brett Lee in the release. “We continue our leadership role in sustainability by now requiring photovoltaic systems on all new commercial and multifamily construction. These requirements will have long-term benefits for our residents and our environment.”

The new code also requires new single-family residential developments to be wired for electric-vehicle charging and mandates charging stations for all new nonresidential settings, including retail, hospitals and clinics, schools, churches and hotels.

Davis has been implementing environmental sustainability programs through its Davis Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, which includes a goal of being carbon-neutral by 2040, the release said.