Measures in the energy sector incentivize the installation of solar photovoltaic panels on residences in the unincorporated area and require an increase in the amount of renewable electricity supplied to unincorporated county residents through the grid. The County also generates renewable energy on-site through solar and renewable electricity installations on County-owned property through power purchase agreements. Measures in this sector will help the County achieve reductions of 125,140 metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent in 2020 and 553,449 metric tons in 2030.

On September 30, 2020, the County of San Diego Board of Supervisors voted to set aside its approval of the County’s 2018 Climate Action Plan (2018 CAP) and related actions because the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (2018 CAP SEIR) was found to be out of compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). In response to this Board action, staff are preparing a Climate Action Plan Update (CAP Update) to revise the 2018 CAP and correct the items identified by the Court within the Final 2018 CAP SEIR that were not compliant. The 2018 CAP and EIR are being revised in partnership with residents, and business and environmental groups. The County continues implementing sustainability measures to effectively reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) as part of its ongoing commitment to the environment. The court ruling struck down part of the 2018 CAP’s EIR but did not find fault with its 26 GHG reduction measures. Learn more about the CAP Update.


Strategy E-1: Increase Building Energy Efficiency

Strategy E-2: Increase Renewable Electricity Use


Electricity and natural gas used in buildings contribute 33% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the unincorporated county. The County works to incentivize solar photovoltaic systems and incorporates new technologies and practices that increase energy savings, lower utility costs, and improve air quality in County buildings. The County also strives to increase the generation and use of renewable energy on-site at facilities and across the unincorporated county to reduce emissions from fossil fuel-generated electricity.

Looking to the future, the County plans to achieve 90% renewable electricity for the unincorporated area by 2030 through a renewable energy program. 


  • Opened the Santa Ysabel Nature Center in 2020 to be zero net energy (ZNE), which means it produces as much energy as it consumes
  • In 2021, the County joined a local Community Choice Energy program to bring renewable energy to the grid in the county’s unincorporated areas in Spring 2023
  • The Board of Supervisors voted in 2021 to shorten the approval process for battery storage projects in industrial areas in the unincorporated area to support the electrical grid to take on more renewable energy
  • Installed solar photovoltaic systems with a total capacity of 18,019 megawatt hours on-site at County facilities from 2015-2022
  • Issued residential solar permits for the equivalent of 12,531 homes in 2022, over 90% permitted through the County’s Online Permits platform
  • In 2022, achieved a 46% reduction in energy use intensity at County facilities
  • The County continues to analyze all new County construction for ZNE potential