In January 2002, the City of Sebastopol joined with the rest of Sonoma County in pledging to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This month, the City approved a new ordinance that will help the City’s goal of a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gasses by requiring new construction and major renovations and repairs on existing structures to install a Solar Photovoltaic system.

Beginning in the next 60 days, all residential structures that are either constructed or undergo renovations on 75 percent of the existing structure must source power from renewable means, primarily solar panels. In cases where topography or shading would limit the effectiveness of a solar panel, the City will consider other means as an acceptable renewable source. Homes that already have smaller solar arrays would need to upgrade those systems to produce 1.2 megawatts of electricity.

Commercial structures face the same requirements, but they would only need to renovate 50 percent of their building or increase square footage by 1,800 square feet.

The goal is to use the solar panels to offset 75 percent of a building’s annual electrical load and the City shall institute for solar systems that exceed the 75 percent threshold.

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