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The Green Energy Institute Releases Policy Report on Solar Building Standards

January 28, 2015

On January 28, the Green Energy Institute published a report, “Solar Building Standards: How American Cities Can Lay Foundations for a New Generation of Solar Development,” by staff attorney Nick Lawton. The report explains how solar building standards, which are local ordinances requiring solar power as a standard feature on new or renovated buildings, could offer significant benefits to many energy market stakeholders. Instead of relying on subsidies to entice investment from relatively affluent property owners, solar building standards would result in widespread solar development that keeps pace with construction and growing energy demand. At the same time, these new policies could lower costs of solar power, facilitate its integration into the energy grid, save property owners money, promote resilience to power outages, and allow utilities to develop business models that benefit from distributed solar arrays. The report describes the nation’s first two solar building standards, which were enacted in two California cities in 2013, and then offers design options that local governments should consider when adopting these policies. The report also explores possible arguments against solar building standards, which have dwindling merit as the economics of solar power continue to improve. The report concludes that as solar power’s costs of continue to decline and its benefits become increasingly clear, more local governments should give solar building standards strong consideration. 

 

For more information on this report, please contact Nick Lawton at nicklawton@lclark.edu

Green Energy Institute

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