How to Make New Buildings Truly "Solar Ready"

Going further than the state-mandated requirements can save you cost and effort down the road.

by Sage Renewable Energy Consulting

 

Since 2013, the State of California has mandated that all new renovation and construction be “solar-ready.” According to their guidelines, buildings designed to be “solar ready” can install solar faster, with less complexity, and at lower cost to complete.   

Here's a primer on Title 24 of the California Energy Code.

But simply complying with the minimum requirements for “solar-ready” buildings is not the same as having a comprehensive, forward-thinking energy plan to meet financial and environmental goals. It’s important that your architects look at your project holistically, with options for solar, energy efficiency, energy storage and electric vehicle charging in mind. This small, up-front investment in energy planning will pay for itself and make the process easier when you commit to clean energy.

A few simple measures you can recommend to your architect can reduce the uncertainty, cost and complexity of implementing energy solutions throughout the life of your new project:  

Flat roofs require additional weight to ballast the PV system.

Flat roofs require additional weight to ballast the PV system.

1 - Include a solar PV system in the structural design of the building.

2 - Reduce roof parapet heights and make as few roof penetrations as possible to maximize the available space for solar panels. 

3 - Where possible, use sloped metal roofing for easy installation and no roof replacements over the 25-year life of the system. 

4 - For flat roofs, plan for additional weight for ballasted PV systems.

Design parking lots to accommodate solar shade canopies.

Design parking lots to accommodate solar shade canopies.

5 - Design parking lots for solar shade structures: south-facing, double-rowed, with perpendicular (not slanted) stalls.

6 - Make sure to plant low vegetation in and around future parking canopy areas, and plan for under canopy lighting in parking lots.

7 - Leave space for energy storage and electric vehicle charging stations.

Sage Renewables is an independent solar consulting firm for schools, cities, public agencies and private organizations. We help plan, implement and operate renewable energy projects. Sage works closely with organizations and their design teams to plan and implement energy projects. Having our foresight and expertise on your team eases the burden on staff and delivers better financial results for your investment in energy projects.

Sage's expertise can help make your facilities truly solar ready. Contact us.