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Solar-ready construction guidelines enable newly constructed residential and commercial buildings to accommodate future solar installations. This includes maximizing roof space by strategically locating building equipment and orienting buildings for maximum solar gain. Guidance documents can assist developers, and these upfront modifications for solar can significantly reduce the cost of future installations.
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Solar-ready construction guidelines enable newly constructed residential and commercial buildings to accommodate future solar installations. This includes orienting rows of parking stalls for maximum solar gain (typical solar parking lot structures usually align with parking stalls, rather than covering the entire lot). Additionally, guidance should include typical widths for solar PV in parking lots, the tilt of the array, and safety considerations associated with proximity to the public, such as proper equipment grounding and bonding, appropriate placards and signs, reliable and well-thought-out wire management, and an appropriate area-lighting system design. Guidance on height and support structure spacing can be useful to ensure that there are access paths for larger vehicles and that the canopy is tall enough to accommodate the types of vehicles that will be parked underneath and avoid loss of parking capacity. Guidance documents can assist developers and parking lot managers. Including nontraditional areas provides opportunity for innovation.
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Local governments can take additional steps to encourage solar ready construction by creating requirements through ordinances or using development incentives for proposed developments.
Aligning designing specifications with the latest construction and safety codes can reduce review periods for electrical, fire and safety and other personnel.
The International Code Council has developed model construction codes for solar PV. These codes are meant to support fire and safety and building personnel. Code adoption is another way for local governments to ensure they are aligned with current best practice.
Requiring newly constructed buildings to implement solar PV is a key way to spur the expansion of solar PV. A municipality or state may do this in one zoning district or on a statewide level, as California has recently done on a state level for new residential construction.
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