Back in 2014, the city of Lancaster, CA made the then-forward thinking decision to require that all new homes have solar power included. Since then other California cities followed suit and the state might be able to pass a rule requiring it of all cities.

Never one to sit on the status quo, Lancaster has jumped back ahead of the pack with a new rule requiring that the solar panels on the roof of new residences must meet all energy needs of the home.

Dubbed the Zero Net Energy Home Ordinance, the new law is the latest in a long line of rules meant to help Lancaster achieve zero net energy status as a city.

Of course, not every house will be able accommodate all of that solar capacity. In those instances, builders will have the option to pay a fee of $1.40 per square foot or a combination of fees and solar panels. Paying the fee gives the homeowner a 50 percent discount on the generation component of their electricity bill for twenty years.

The city now waits on the findings of a feasibility study, which are expected by April. At that point, Lancaster will then seek approval of the ordinance from the California Energy Commission so that it can go into effect by the end of the year. If it happens, that gives the city a three-year head start on the rest of the state, which is expected to enact a similar rule in 2020. Lancaster seems more than happy to be the solar-powered guinea pig until then.