County Residents Continue to Expand the Use of Solar to Power Homes


Electricity and natural gas used in buildings contribute 33% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the unincorporated county, with 55% of electricity and natural gas consumption occurring from residential buildings. The County’s 2018 Climate Action Plan (CAP) Measure E-2.3, Install Solar Photovoltaics in Existing Homes, looks to help reduce these emissions by increasing the use of solar photovoltaics (PV) by making it easier to obtain a permit to install a rooftop solar system on your home. The County makes solar permitting easy by implementing its Solar Ready Ordinance, which supports the installation of solar PV systems to produce clean, renewable electricity at unincorporated residences.

During 2021, the County permitted residential solar power equivalent to 11,427 homes, over 90% of which were done using the County’s online permitting system. This puts the unincorporated area at having an equivalent of 68,290 average sized homes with solar PV installed since 2014, or 345,546 kilowatts (kW) of solar PV systems being installed through implementation of Measure E-2.3.

In 2020, the County exceeded the 2018 CAP’s 2020 target of 52,273 homes with solar PV and aims to install an additional 77,902 homes from 2021-2030.

Total Number of Homes with Solar PV

Why is this important?

Solar photovoltaics capture a renewable energy resource that allows residents to power their homes without creating any greenhouse gas emissions from on-site electricity generation. Unlike fossil fuels that require environmentally damaging extraction and processing, solar power only needs the shining San Diego sun. Solar power also does not create air or water pollution that compromises public health. In addition, installing more solar panels on homes helps the county be more resilient by ensuring that residents have a power source in case of natural disaster or grid failure.

Ready to get started with solar?

If you would like to learn more about what will be required to install solar on your property in the unincorporated area, see these resources from the County. The County has also partnered with the private sector on the Go Solar…San Diego County program to offer property owners information and access to a variety of commercial banks willing to make loans to qualified borrowers who are interested in making energy efficient and/or solar energy property improvements.

If you live in the City of San Diego, visit here for information.