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Do I need solar panels on my ADU?

Roof top solar

Whether your newly constructed Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) needs solar panels depends on several factors:

1. **Local Regulations and Codes:** Some jurisdictions have building or energy codes that require new constructions, including ADUs, to incorporate renewable energy sources or to be solar-ready. For example, California's Title 24 Building Standards Code mandates that new residential buildings have solar panels installed. Check your local building codes and consult with a local professional to determine if there are any such requirements for your ADU.

title 24 building code

2. **Energy Goals and Sustainability:** If you're aiming for a net-zero energy ADU or you're looking to reduce your carbon footprint, then installing solar panels would be a good choice. Solar energy can offset the electrical consumption of the unit, reducing the reliance on grid electricity, which might still be produced from fossil fuels in many areas.

3. **Economic Considerations:** Solar panels can help reduce monthly energy bills, especially if electricity prices are high in your region. However, the initial investment for solar panels can be significant. Consider the payback period, potential government incentives, tax credits, and the future savings on energy bills to determine if the investment makes sense for you.

4. **Space and Suitability:** Not every property is suitable for solar. The orientation of the roof, the amount of daily sunlight, and potential obstructions (like tall trees or nearby buildings) can all affect solar panel efficiency. A solar installer can provide a site assessment to determine the potential solar yield for your property.

5. **Utility Incentives and Net Metering:** Some utility companies offer incentives for installing solar panels or allow for net metering, where excess energy generated by your solar panels is sent back to the grid, and you get credit for it. This can further offset the costs of installation and provide ongoing savings.

Installation of solar panel

6. **Future Property Value:** In some markets, homes with solar panels have seen an increase in property value. If you think you might sell or rent out your property in the future, having solar panels could be an attractive feature for potential buyers or tenants.

In conclusion, while your ADU might not strictly *need* solar panels from a functional standpoint, there are many potential benefits, both economically and environmentally, to consider. Always consult with local professionals and perform a cost-benefit analysis before making a decision.


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