You knew this was going to happen sooner than later and now the Santa Monica, California City Council has adopted an ordinance setting solar design standards. Read the ordinance at: http://www01.smgov.net/cityclerk/council/agendas/2009/20090630/s2009063007-A.htm .
The new ordinance requires that solar equipment must be installed “in the location that is least visible from the street” (NIYFY-“Not in Your Front Yard, buster!) in response to ‘reasonable aesthetic concerns’ raised in the community. There are exceptions included in response to pleas from solar energy advocates so that compliance with the ordinance can not impose a cost in energy production lost of more than 10% nor can relocating the solar panels to comply impose unreasonably high costs.
Santa Monica prides itself in being an environmental leader and says it wants to be the nation’s first “Net Zero” city. Using energy efficiency, solar and other renewable energy, the city hopes to reducing its emissions for energy consumption to zero.
The city, of course, will spend very little money to achieve this goal according to Energy and Green Building Program Administrator Susan Munves who told the LA Times that over 20 years she estimated that $1.4 billion in ‘probable investment’ will be required to achieve the “Net Zero” goal. How will Santa Monica achieve this net zero goal? Ms Munves says with a number of “carrots and sticks” Santa Monica will encourage broad participation.
Santa Monica’s 20 year plan would eliminate electricity produced by coal and natural gas power plants, and all the resulting greenhouse gas emissions.