New Solar-Ready Mandate Affects Commercial and Residential Buildings in St. Louis

By Peter Fabris | January 14, 2020
Solar Power Installation
Solar panel technician with drill installing solar panels By Zstock - Adobe Stock

St. Louis recently passed a new law requiring all new buildings to be made solar-ready. All new structures—commercial and residential—must reserve rooftop sections for solar panels to be easily installed. The ordinance does not mandate that rooftop solar be installed.

The solar-ready zone must be at least 40% of the roof area. It can be one contiguous area or multiple smaller sub-zone areas that are no less than five feet in width at their narrowest point. The solar-ready area cannot be obstructed by pipes, vents, HVAC equipment, or other shadow-casting elements.

Construction documents must outline pathways for routing of piping from the solar-ready zone to the building’s electrical service panel or service hot water system. The electrical panel must also have reserved space for a dual-pole circuit breaker to support future solar installations.

New buildings that have permanently-installed onsite generation systems already, buildings whose solar-ready zones would be shaded from sunlight for more than 70% of the day, and buildings where a licensed design professional has deemed that the solar radiation available to the building is not suitable to a solar-ready zone or because the area requirement cannot be met due to extensive rooftop obstructions, may be exempt.

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