New Construction in St. Louis Required to Be Solar Ready

St. Louis is making it easier for people to get access to solar energy. Will more cities follow suit?

Shutterstock/ esbobeldijk

St. Louis, Missouri, has taken a major step towards the expansion of solar power use in the city by making it official that all new construction, both residential and commercial, will now be required to be “solar ready.”

According to Board Bill 146, the legislation supporting this new requirement, construction that is “solar ready” is defined as “designing and constructing a building in a way that facilitates and optimizes the installation of a rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system during construction.” City officials are hoping that requiring solar readiness will enable more people to adopt solar power, helping to save money on energy costs and providing a more environmentally-friendly power source.

“Up until now, it has been only the people who can afford the up-front installation costs of solar power who benefit from the lower electric rates. This bill levels the playing field and better positions City residents to take advantage of solar power,” said Alderwoman Heather Navarro, who sponsored the bill.

The legislation was approved unanimously by the city board, receiving 22 votes in total. St. Louis joins a growing number of cities across the United States to require environmentally conscious practices in new construction. Last September, San Jose, California, banned the use of natural gas in construction in order to increase the usage of energy from renewable resources.

Part of the reason St. Louis was able to make this move in favor of solar power is its participation in the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge, or the ACCC. The ACCC is an award that provides resources to cities that make it possible for cities to take strong actions towards climate conscious practices.

“This new solar ready ordinance fits perfectly in the City’s progressive use of modern, up-to-date building codes that are cost-effective, keep the public safe and conscious of our environment,” said Building Commissioner Frank Oswald.

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