City Of Fremont To Require Solar Panels, EV Charger Wiring In New Homes


A step in the right direction towards zero net energy.

In mid-May, the Fremont City Council voted to approve that new housing developments will be required to install solar panels and wiring for electric vehicle charging stations.

Home chariging EVSE

As East Bay Times explains:

“The size of the solar panel system mandated for both single-family and multifamily housing built in the city will be determined by the size of the homes on a sliding scale, up to 4,449 square feet. Homes 4,500 square feet or larger will be measured differently, though still subject to the requirements.”

This could be a big boost for Tesla’s solar division and perhaps even for its premium Solar Roof tile products. Fremont is Tesla’s home town, though there’s no requirement that builders go with Tesla products.

As for the wiring for EVSEs, the requirement is that new residential and commercial developments with parking spaces are “EV ready.” Basically, this means that they need to be pre-wired for future installations of EVSEs.

East Bay Times adds:

“…a single-family home with a two-car garage would in most cases need a large specialized outlet and a dedicated circuit in the garage so a resident can plug in an electric vehicle charger.”

“For most new multifamily or commercial projects, the city is also requiring that 10 percent of the parking spaces come with a charging station installed..”

The goal for Fremont is to drive up electric car adoption, while at the same time driving down from-the-grid energy usage.

Source: East Bay Times

Categories: Charging, General

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89 Comments on "City Of Fremont To Require Solar Panels, EV Charger Wiring In New Homes"

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Hopefully Faux News doesn’t get ahold of this news of positive change for the better. They will figure some way to spin this, and then throw some shade for “good measure”.

It’s not positive news. You are ultimately advocating for someone using a gun to force people to purchase and install products.

Luckily I don’t live in that state.

Why are you whining?

because he’s SO GOOD at it! Also a CC Denier, no doubt.

And we are glad you don’t live here

Absolutely! We have plenty here that resist environmentally friendly propositions just because…while their kids have all sorts of allergies and respiratory problems.

“You are ultimately advocating for someone using a gun to force people to purchase and install products.”

Like houses have to meet certain building codes? Like houses have to meet certain fire and safety hazard requirement?

It is no different from a HOA just a big enough to be a city… Nobody is forcing to buy a house with HOA just as nobody is forcing you to live in Fremont.

The “you don’t have to live here” excuse doesn’t morally justify pointing a gun at someone and telling them that they must install solar panels and EVSEs. Are you personally willing to point a gun at me and require me to install a solar panel on my house? If you aren’t, why are you advocating for government to do the same thing? Every law and every ordinance is ultimately backed by force from government.

Sorry, I’m a pro-EV anarchist. I’m also not a consequentialist. I don’t believe the ends justify the means. I know what your ends are, and I respect them, but your means aren’t compatible with my moral code. I see things from a slightly different perspective so I doubt we will ever align on this issue. I think it’s a great idea to install solar panels and EVSEs, I just don’t think it should be done by means of theft and violence. 🙂

Nobody is forcing you to put solar panels on your current house. It is only on the new constructions.

You don’t have to buy it or build it.

Now, are you saying that government shouldn’t have pointed a gun at you to force you have a home that meets minimum building code either?

Also, your so called “pointing of a gun” is full of crap.

So you’re saying laws aren’t enforced through initiatory violence? They aren’t backed, ultimately, with lethal force?

If I went and built a new house on land I own and decided not to install solar panels, what do you think the end result would be? If you were the state, what would you do? You would probably start out with letters and visits from code enforcement, then if that doesn’t work- fines, and ultimately eviction if they are ignored too- and if I chose not to allow them to evict me, force would be used to remove me, up to and including lethal force. Because… SOLAR PANELS.

Every law is backed with lethal force. So are you willing to shoot me if I don’t put a solar panel on my roof? Do you feel that’s morally justifiable? What exactly are you willing to kill me over?

You are welcome to go live in a place where there are no police to enforce laws. In fact, from your rants here, I’d say that you’d be a better person if you lived in such a place long enough to realize the value of living in an organized society which enforces law and order.

And if you never learned, then I would invite you to stay there.

I sympathize with your anti government stance but as a general rule, code violations would not be a capital offense. And shooting an unarmed man for not complying for eviction would be a criminal offense for the police officer. That officer could face the death penalty in certain states.

So unfortunately you are using a ridiculous argument to make the point. But in my opinion, it just comes off as ridiculous.

Now – does every new home in Fremont have a good roof for solar – not likely. Do they have an out for those – hopefully. Germany went all in on solar and you do run into issues. They survive (as CA does) by importing electricity. Not a complete solution.

As someone who has built and getting ready to do again – codes can be ridiculous and non sensical. Electric outlets in garages is truly a smart and cheap idea. Putting solar panels on a house in an area with tree shade is absolutely not. It is a waste of resources – the resources being the solar panels.

Many replies conflate safety and the environment. We get more blowback, from rules of the latter, and it’s not always unreasonable. Sparing examples where i agree with Kubel, what makes me do it is when the payback assuming multi-hundred dollar carbon prices and the money saved from “efficiencies” still yields time values which take decades, if they aren’t impossible, to reach. Even when you can sit down with the “I shouldn’t be forced” guy and demonstrate the dollars do make sense (paid back in 4 or 11 years), you are pre-supposing they cannot do their own analysis. It smacks of Big Government. When the subject addressed is carbon dioxide, which many do not reasonably feel their personal health is endangered by, they start going “Trump”. Voting thesis: “I support the environment, but won’t support the politics of being required (figuratively, a gun) to do it.” Bye bye environmental voter. Bye bye environment. It was never a number one issue, right? When cities like Freemont impose such rules, they go up a media flagpole that makes the rest of us work harder to parade how much a swamp the country is becoming. It’s that much harder to get that vote back.… Read more »

So, minimum requirement on window panels, insulation are safety requirement, not an energy requirement?

Spare me the crap that people are so fed up with government so they must give up all their ethics and vote for Trump excuse. That just means that they didn’t have much ethics to start with.

You’re daft in the head. As a home-owner this would have nothing to do with you. They aren’t requiring existing homeowners install panels. This mandate will be a BUILDING REGULATION, meaning all NEW builds must have solar panels. What you need to understand is, even if you build a house, one day it may be sold to another family.

Comparing this to holding a gun to someone’s head is stupid. A gun indicates a threat on someone’s life, not threat of eviction. Silly American.

Besides, this may go against your moral code, but it also goes against your common sense. Cali is a sunny state. PV panels ultimately start to pay for themselves in less than a year. Who in their right mind WOULDN’T want free electricity?

“The ‘you don’t have to live here’ excuse doesn’t morally justify pointing a gun at someone and telling them that they must install solar panels and EVSEs.”

Well, that’s two errors: No gun or physical coercion involved, and no requirement to install an EV charger; merely a requirement for wiring that will enable later installation of an EV charger if and when the current or future home owner wants to.

I suppose you’d also whine if the city required you to install a curb cutout for a driveway if you were building a house in the suburbs. After all, you may want to ride a horse instead of driving a car!


But seriously: I am not happy that local building codes prevent people from building “earth homes” inside the city limits of either Kansas City, KS or Kansas City, MO. If I want to build one, I’ll have to do it on land outside the city limits. But I certainly don’t think of it as anybody “putting a gun to my head”. It’s my choice to live either inside the city limits, where more strict building codes exist, or outside the limits if I want to build an “earth home”.

Yea now one is forcing you to breath air you anti commie.

Why is this any different than a building code requiring certain levels of insulation in the walls and ceiling? That costs the homeowner more upfront for something they may never recoup, and I don’t hear a lot of complaint about that.

I’m not complaining about building a quality and safe home, or using free energy raining down upon our homes, or charging our cars with clean electricity- I love all those things.

What I don’t like are all these good ideas being enforced through the barrel of a gun. Initiatory violence is not cool. There must be another way other than violence, don’t you agree?

You really should stop over thinking things and take a hike. There’s no implication of violence here. No one is being forced to build a house in Fremont. If someone is well-off enough to build a house in California, then they can afford to help protect the environment too.

What color is the sky in your world? You keep using the term force, gun. No one can physically Force you to install solar panels on your home. They can fine you but that’s about it. Your whole assessment of this is pointless I do believe you are paranoid.

Kubel wrote:”What I don’t like are all these good ideas being enforced through the barrel of a gun. Initiatory violence is not cool. There must be another way other than violence, don’t you agree?”

Completely F*$%$^% BS.

Nobody is putting a gun to your head as you falsely and repeatly have claimed. It is a building code. If there are no code, then people don’t do it. As far as free choices go, maybe we shouldn’t have any laws on murder, rape either since you certainly don’t like commit those crimes but you don’t want government to force a gun to you to hold you to it…

Are you saying that government shouldn’t make any requirements on anything at all?

Maybe we should go back to the wild west days where people can shoot each other on the street after an argument…

This is just stupid…

There isn’t any difference. If you were free you could build your house like you want it and not how your neighbor likes it. Some people just despite freedumb.

There isn’t any difference. If you were free you could build your house like you want it and not how your neighbor likes it. Some people just despise freedumb.

There are no guns involved here, a democratically elected body is taking appropriate action to ensure energy security and protect the environment. Unlike other energy sources, you don’t need guns to secure or protect sunshine.

Lancaster California has required all new homes to include solar since 2013. That is also where the BYD electric bus factory is located.

This illustrates part of the reason it costs so much to live in California. Lots of government mandates that go way beyond what most of the rest of the country has to deal with. I guess if you’re going to pay near, or over $1,000,000 for a house, it might as well have all the bells and whistles.

Restriction in supply is a bigger problem.

supply is the main driver of prices.

Sorry, but you’re pretty much dead wrong. Housing prices aren’t high in CA because of regulations on building houses, they’re high because a lot of people live here and still more people keep coming. Thus even housing twice as expensive as elsewhere in the country still isn’t enough to result in us losing population.

All you haters, please don’t come here. You’re doing us a favor.

Mercury News link

– people are leaving California and 3rd world criminals are replacing them at a lower rate.

Well, they aren’t leaving fast enough because the traffic jams and housing shortages around me tell me otherwise.

I think you totally missed where I typed “PART of the reason”. The majority of California voters love regulation. Regulations often cost consumers.

“Regulations often cost consumers.”
Yes, they do but lack of regulations cost even more…see 2008 financial crisis. Without regulations you are at the mercy of the big corporations…good luck with that.

The state needs to mind its own business and give the homeowners the liberty to choose or not choose what they want in and on their homes.

If I were building a home, it would have this. But I don’t think governments job is to force people to purchase products.

Government IS responsible for providing infrastructure.
This is part of it.
This is needed.
But you may cry “socialism” til the last glacier is gone.

I’m with Kubel here.

We built our house six years ago and the city forced us to put toilets in.
This with a backyard that’s plenty big enough!


Don’t know what u are talking about…i still piss in my back yard.

No one says you have to use them though.

He didn’t use the word “socialism”, and it does not mean what you apparently believe it means.

Forcing citizens to purchase specific classes of products does, however, have a long history in American city building codes. For example, in our recent remodel in libertarian-leaning Texas, we had to rewire part of the house to use heavier gauge wire to reduce for risk (they claim). We also had to move the breaker panels outside so that fire fighters could more easily kill power in an emergency.

These are some of the compromises we make to live in close quarters with others in a city, where your decision to have bonfires in your living room because liberty could cost my family our lives.

The problem is that you have no choice but to breath the air that your irresponsible neighbors create with polluting ICE cars and coal-generated electricity.

Requiring everyone to install solar and EV chargers is the only way to preserve your right to clean air!

As many has stated, I rather the homeowner be given the choice.

All the developer will do is jack up the price by waaay more than what it would cost to install those mandated features.

1) The solar system typically installed by developer’s subcontractors at new homes are around 2kW (small).

2) EVSE prewiring is simply 4 wires of 8-10awg cables within a conduit. From service panel (via double-pole breaker) to a garage wall, it’s a short run.

How much do you think you are willing to pay for that?

Do you think ICE car buyers should be allowed to choose whether to have a catalytic converter or not?

A home has a dirty tailpipe just like a car does. You just have to follow the electrons…

1) Then specify that the array be able to meet the projected energy demands for the residence.

2) All the more reason why including it when the house is built should result in essentially no change in final price.

“As many has stated, I rather the homeowner be given the choice.”

Many? No, just one guy posting repeated rants here.

There are places where people build without any regard to building codes. Those places are generally called “shantytowns”.

If you want to live in such a place, nobody is stopping you. And heaven help you if there ever is a fire, with no fire codes in place.

Hope you enjoy the open sewer running down the middle of the street, too.

The gov’t has their hands on so many aspects of home building already. This at least is a good thing. I doubt they’re going to require them to put in a huge system and frankly with the states goals I think it makes sense for more cities to do this. In the long run the home owner will surely benefit from it.

I’m in central Florida and my HOA won’t allow me to paint my house rainbow colors, should I whine about It?

I don’t believe you. Boca Raton, FL is the most garish city in the world. Hot pink stucco in office parks? Come on. Taste the rainbow, Mister G.
HOA’s are evil.

Kubel would you be the first one to whine about your neighbor starting a meth laboratory and report it to the government? And would demand that the government intervene on your behalf.

You don’t have to live in Fremont then.

I don’t because I can’t afford to live there. =)

People who don’t like it can choose to live elsewhere. CA has no shortage of people who want to live here. If some people are scared away, so much the better. Fremont isn’t Oklahoma​ City or Wichita.

kubel wrote:”The state needs to mind its own business”

Stupid people needs to figure out the difference between a California City such as Fremont and the state of California.

Given the fact that at today’s prices a private solar system has paid for itself after less than 10 (?) years in California (especially with battery pack and high EV consumption), compared to paying the utility, this is very thoughtful by the local lawmakers.
It only might be more expensive in the very few cases where someone uses only very small amounts of electricity, way lower than the average household, who also does not own a car.

It is 5 years now for most of Cali. This is really a no brainier.

Requiring support for VE charging makes sense — it’s very cheap if designed-in to begin with (although, maybe only the pipes to carry wiring should be mandated, not the wiring itself — it’s not yet certain how much charging output a typical house will need._

Requiring solar PV for every house, not so much.
In some areas, it might much more efficient to have larger-scale thermal-solar for a neighborhood (esp. if centralizing energy storage for nighttime and/or demand smoothing).

I’d rather see a requirement for significant insulation to lower energy usage.

“it might much more efficient to have larger-scale thermal-solar for a neighborhood”
No it wont. Look at the costs. Solar got to be under $2.5 for individual residential installs…it will be far below that on a larger scale when subdivisions are built.

It’ll be interesting to see what the solar mandate is (it isn’t specified yet). I’d be a little surprised if the garage prep rule does anything at all. I cannot comprehend why a builder would build a new home in Fremont right now without an EVSE circuit to the garage anyway. It adds value to the house and you build houses to create value (and charge for it). And any builder who isn’t interested in the value this creates will just put in a 220V/20A branch circuit to the garage to minimize the costs. And that’s not going to make EV owners all that happy. The article says they are considering requiring 10% EVSE spots in commercial developments. I’m not sure that’s a good idea. Many commercial developments need no EVSEs at all. Can you imagine a McDonalds with 10% charging spots? People are going to pop in to add 7 mile whiles while they eat? Dumb. Heck they just put in a BART (commuter rail) station in Fremont with 2,000 parking spaces and only 42 EVSE parking spots. And unlike a fast food joint that is a place where cars remain for hours, enough time to get a useful… Read more »

“Can you imagine a McDonalds with 10% charging spots? People are going to pop in to add 7 mile whiles while they eat? Dumb.”

In most McDonald’s that amounts to maybe two. I’d imagine that the McDonald’s in Fremont is not out in the boonies, so if people don’t want to spend all their time eating a Big Mac and browsing on the free wifi, they’d wander to other retail establishments that are almost certainly close by.

McDonalds doesn’t really locate their locations like that. And why should McDonalds be required to put in spots for other retailers to benefit from? People are going to use McDonalds spots for 2 hours when they are only in the restaurant for 30 mins?

30 spots seems more normal and 3 charging spots is too many. It’s probably 3 too many. AC charging is too slow to be useful for fast food places.

The other thing that needs tackling is converting existing and future apartment complexes. It’s easy for a home owner to say I want to add an L2 charger to my garage but it’s much harder for a tenant to convince their provider they should get that for their parking spot.

“For most new multifamily or commercial projects, the city is also requiring that 10 percent of the parking spaces come with a charging station installed..”

The solar requirement in Fremont might not need many exceptions… Menlo Park, just across the Bay, has some heavily forested sections; it would be absurd to require solar power in those sections. However, Fremont has trees here and there – I think there would be few new homes without a significant portion of their roof with sun exposure most of the day.

I have no problem with making home owners offset their externalities of pollution of the electricity they will consume in their homes.

Putting on solar at the point in initial construction is the least expensive point in a home’s existence to install solar.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

I’m all for solar……BUT!

I want a package that can scale up when I buy next set of EV’s.

All of the solar installers I consulted were posed this question….

Will the solar array allow me to add more panels when I buy an EV, then when I buy another EV then when I buy my EV Pickup when it’s available.

Answer is always NO!

Someone needs to come out with a scale-able PV set that can grow as your EV ownership grows.

Very good point on scaling up. It’s complicated due to the permitting and net metering contracts.

It is easy to add on to a solar system with micro inverters.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

New built homes…..

I have visited new home constructions and looked through the models. In only the smallest elevation model, there was a NEMA 14-30 in the garage. The others had those sockets inside the home either upstairs or in the laundry room deeper in the house.

Mandating available power to make it “EV Ready” is just a matter of cost for the socket, about $30 and breaker at the panel, $35. That’s a no brainer.
If you’re buying a new house, just have them install 2 sockets but upgrade to 60A (14-60R) each circuit.

Every city should simply require this as well.

All new construction should be required to have solar panels in the US — then we’d see a dent in our energy usage.

Heck, here in the backward State of Kansas (“…where evolution stops at the border”), I’d be happy to see the first step of a State law outlawing HOAs which forbid putting solar panels on your roof… which is the case in the subdivision where we live. 🙁

Rules are made to be broken. Without breaking rules or making your own the US (and Kansas) would not exist.

What will happen if you do install solar panels? What about solar tiles/shingles?

The HOA will fine him out of the house. They can do that…they will do that!

Well new homes are 1% of stock. The mandated panels are probably 25% of usage. So .25% a year is a dent?

“we are instituting a new rule today that everyone has to wear clean underwear. We also will require that everyone wear their underwear on the outside so we can check”.

Ok, 5 points for the person to “name that quote”.

Though I’m a huge EV and solar advocate (have solar PV powering my Nissan LEAF and solar for the big pool that was included with this old ranch house) I must point out that as places like Fremont get more and more expensive people like teachers, police and jobs that pay even less just move further and further out. Great, a high paid high-tech worker has solar, but for every one of them 3 lower paid workers drive hundreds of extra miles per week with the resulting carbon impacts. Frankly, I’d be more impressed with Fremont if they simply mandated higher density housing, increasing the supply, lowering costs, so people who work there can actually live there. I dare say that would be carbon beneficial. Oh, and let people then decide. Until we actually defeat the NIMBY’s that fight higher-density infill, requiring solar on high priced housing is not a good public policy solution.

I don’t see this as a point worth arguing.

The homes are ridiculously expensive, and adding a few circuits or mandating solar panels isn’t a great percentage increase in cost.

If the town board decides that in that town, all new construction will be done this way, it is their business.

Since I don’t pay taxes there it is none of mine.

At least, I don’t THINK I pay taxes there, federal gov’t grants not withstanding.

You are right about that, this will add maybe 2-3% more to the cost of the house. Realtors suck up way more and are pretty much useless.

How about just a predicted total energy use. Let the builder/owner decide how to do it. If you have a west facing view and you want huge windows there (and live inland), then you better have panels.

This is just another tax the rich policy. Not a horrible one mind you but won’t have people crying in the streets because you are hitting a tiny portion of the population.

Far more effective would be continuing to increase the cost of electricity with an EV exemption that isn’t so ridiculous.

Building codes already require many things as stated. This includes the electrical service. Requiring a circuit be wired is smarter and cheaper.

For those of us that had to install 220v outlets in the garage the cost is about $650 – $1000. When the house was being built it would have added less than $100. This is a no brainer if no brainer.

Retrofitting (especially trenching) is the most expensive part of providing EVSE in public places or multi-family parking lots.

No one should forget that the developers ALWAYS ask for tax abatements that add up could add up to millions. So requiring them to install the wiring is smart.

It will also address the ICEing issue. The reason that retrofit EV parking is often the closest or premium spots is because the locations are usually the closest to the electrical service. Making the wiring part of the original design makes sense.

Some places have minimum R restrictions. Does this add to the cost of the residence? yes. Is it less expensive and more efficient to do this during construction yes. In the long run the homeowner and the subsequent buyers will all benefit. It’s better to spend less money upfront and do it right.

Earthquake and fire compliance too.


The same argument could be made against seat belts. The motor vehicle industry and libertarians once argued against their mandatory use in cars, but they save lives. Non renewable sources of electricity create waste, whether you believe in climate change or not. Sure governmental regulation can increase costs, I’m sure I’m paying for safety crash tests, seat belt design every time I buy a car. But think of how that investment whether painful or governmental goes on to save lives, reduce Medicaid expenditure for traumatic head injuries. Government spending should be considered an investment. Hopefully, Fremont’s brave actions will let the costs for the rest of us and make solar cheaper for the everyday man

Hopefully Arizona, Nevada, Florida, New Mexico, and other states follow California’s lead.

Good one! You’re a jokester, aren’t you? FL is lucky to still have the right to look at solar panels. NV officials would shoot at them with paint guns if no one was looking.
The solar numbers for the southern states are simply embarrassing!

We should either be jailing or executing tyrants like this. Not paying their salaries to lord over us and violate our rights…

It is very expensive to retro fit EV charging in an existing structure – especially multi-unit residential buildings, so EV requirements for new structures make sense.

The best way of accomplishing EV infrastructure regulation is to use Zoning bylaws not building bylaws. Using the Zoning bylaws allows the EV requirements to be tailored to land use and avoids over-building L2 infrastructure in buildings that do not need it (Fast Food, strip malls) or places where the number of chargers should be tailored to land use. (warehouses vs shopping centers)

Available technology allows a string of L2 chargers to be power-managed to allow many EVs to share an L2 load overnight, thereby reducing transformer costs and peak loads. This should be leveraged to move EV ready requirement in multi unit buildings up to 100% as building will last 80-100 years and long past the point at which all vehicles will be electric.

I know Tesla has stopped taking orders for it’s Solar Roof because they have orders for installation until the end of 2018 already but I wonder how homebuilders have ordered these solar roofs.Installation is expected to begin in July.