Is off-grid solar legal in California?

Is off-grid solar legal in California?

The short answer is “yes.” The longer answer is, “Yes, but you are still most likely subject to zoning laws, building codes, and fire prevention codes.” The Premium Power Systems team that provides solar and battery backup for the Central Coast has compiled some of the major California laws that oversee off-grid solar living to help create a resource for off-grid living.

Premium Power Systems is not providing legal advice. We are simply providing a list of resources for you to discuss with your legal counsel and presenting some scenarios where off-grid solar living can be a more productive choice than relying on the power company.

Some of the California laws that address off-grid solar can be found in:

  • California Building Code, Title 24, Part 2.
  • California Residential Code, Title 24, Part 2.5.
  • California Electrical Code, Title 24, Part 3.
  • California Mechanical Code, Title 24, Part 4.
  • California Plumbing Code, Title 24, Part 5.
  • California Energy Code, Title 24, Part 6 California Fire Code, Title 24, Part 9.
  • Local zoning and building codes.

California leads the nation in generating solar energy and in solar installations. The state and most local governments are very solar-friendly. Beginning in 2020 all new homes up to three stories high that are built in the state must have an adequate solar system installed. Further, California, along with a handful of other western states such as New Mexico and Arizona, has made it illegal for local governments and homeowner associations (HOAs) to deny residents the right to install solar. Local governments and HOAs can place some requirements on solar installations, but cannot deny them.

Making the off-grid choice

The term, “off-grid” brings up mental pictures of families living on remote properties such as farms and ranches, relying on what they can grow and harvest from the land, like modern-day pioneers. The rural agricultural lifestyle is one example where off-grid solar is a sound economic solution for productivity, generating income, and actually helping feed the world.

California is a big state and there are small communities scattered throughout the state that are powered by older electrical systems. It’s expensive to bring power to the homes and businesses that surround these communities. In addition, the power company will provide power up to a certain point but not always onto private property. The owners of these remote properties have to install and maintain their own power lines, often at great expense. Solar becomes an attractive and affordable off-grid solution.

Although communities on the Central Coast are not necessarily inaccessible to the power grid, residents and businesses are finding that off-grid options supported by Central Coast battery-backed solar systems are an attractive economic and environmentally-friendly choice.

For those who choose to thrive in remote communities, living 100% off-grid isn’t necessarily a choice. It’s pretty difficult to make a living by the light of a lantern in today’s world. Off-grid solar is a viable economic and lifestyle solution for many:

  • Everyone needs to make a living, regardless of where they live. Electricity powers the tools of the trade. Computers, cell phones, power tools, lights, and more are all necessary to make a living in the modern world.
  • Families need power for electrical conveniences and necessities, and to pump water.
  • Agricultural operations need to bring power to barns and livestock sheds, equipment sheds, work sheds, residences, and irrigation systems and provide water for homes and livestock.

How to go off-grid

Installing an off-grid solar system is very similar to installing an on-grid system. The differences are:

  • The solar panels may need to provide more power than those that get some power from the grid.
  • Solar batteries are a necessity.
  • Back-up generators are strongly advised.

Premium Power Systems can provide all of the panels, batteries, and generators needed, and install an efficient solar system that meets your needs. We also help with:

  • Determining how much power the panels in the system need to generate.
  • The best locations to maximize the panels’ exposure to sunlight.
  • How many batteries are needed.
  • How many generators are needed and where they are located.
  • Whether a distributed solar system meets your needs, especially for large-scale agricultural operations and business operations that use a lot of electricity.

Premium Power Systems powers the future by providing cutting-edge solar systems and battery backup for the Central Coast and throughout California. The company also provides generators and EV charging stations.

Specializing in solar installations for commercial, agriculture, and custom home projects, the company has been serving Paso Robles and California’s Central Coast since 2016. Premium Power Systems is one of the most experienced and long-standing names in the eco-friendly green industry with strengths seated in:

  • Innovation and intelligence are the essence of our solar energy management systems for residential, commercial, and industrial sectors.
  • A diversified range of products and services with proven expertise in providing state-of-the-art solar energy systems, electric vehicle charging systems, and PV systems with battery storage for home and commercial use.
  • A team of professionals with the knowledge, experience, and a proven track record of successful job execution.

Call for a consultation today and get a free solar system design!