Office of Energy and Sustainable Development
Office of Energy and Sustainable Development

Specifications for Solar Readiness

NOTE: The 2013 Energy Code (Title 24, Part 6, Section 110.10) specifies mandatory requirements for solar ready buildings applicable to hotel/motel and multifamily buildings of 10 stories or less, other nonresidential buildings of 3 stories or less, and single family homes that are part of a subdivision of 10 or more homes. If required by a condition of a zoning permit, the specifications below will apply.


New residential and commercial construction shall be built to accommodate the installation of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system and/or a solar hot water system. To be solar ready for solar PV or solar hot water systems these general conditions shall be met:

  • Non-solar related rooftop equipment and openings will be positioned to maximize the continuous roof space and avoid shading future solar equipment, and
  • In roof areas where solar PV or solar hot water heating equipment could be placed, the static load roof strength shall be capable of supporting a minimum of 6 lbs/sf.

In addition to the general conditions above, to be solar ready for solar PV systems, the following conditions shall be met:

  • Conduit will be placed from the building roof area where solar equipment could be placed to the main electrical service area, and
  • Excess electrical panel capacity and space for an additional electrical breaker will be maintained to accommodate the addition of a future solar PV system.

In addition to the general conditions above, to be solar ready for solar hot water systems, the following conditions shall be met:

  • T-joints and by-pass valves will be incorporated into the plumbing system to accommodate future solar hot water piping, and
  • Free space will be provided in utility rooms for solar hot water equipment at a minimum of one, and ideally two, times the space required for the conventional water heating equipment.

Exemptions are permitted for sufficient demonstration that the accommodation of a solar PV system and/or solar hot water heater would be impractical due to poor solar resources at the site, or a substitute renewable energy or hot water system will be installed at the time of new construction.

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