Forums

New homes will be required to have solar panels and an EV outlet

New homes will be required to have solar panels and an EV outlet

http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2017/05/03/fremont-to-require-solar-panels-e...

So far it's just Fremont but how much longer can it be before the national electric code is updated to require a n EV outlet in garages?

DTsea | 03. toukokuu 2017

A looooooong time.

mark.willing | 04. toukokuu 2017

I don't know about making it a requirement or code,...but I think if I were a developer,...it would be a great marketing tool. Most people I speak to love the idea of having solar power, but right now haven't "pulled the trigger" on making it a reality for themselves. Now, let's say I am a developer building a neighborhood of new homes,...and I have to compete with other developers doing the same. If I could market my homes as just that more energy efficient or even energy independent,...it would the the competitive edge I would need to sell.

J.T. | 04. toukokuu 2017

@mark>>>>Now, let's say I am a developer building a neighborhood of new homes,

Where? Arizona, Hawaii, Maine, Alaska? Making people in Ketchikan pay for a solar roof is just silly. They get over 300 days of rain a year.

jordanrichard | 04. toukokuu 2017

J.T. +1. Here in New England, most homes are shaded by tall oak and maple trees. If you were to Google earth my neighborhood, it looks like I live under a bushel of broccoli.

Watt fun | 04. toukokuu 2017

When I built a new home with solar 9 years ago, the spruces and other evergreens went on the north and east side, and the deciduous/dwarf deciduous trees went on the south and west sides. For the winter heating solar air unit, south wall and in shade June/July/August when it isn't needed. The solar hot water goes on the south facing roof for year-round access to photons. Tiny windows on the north, none on the east. Massive windows on the south and west, with extra roof overhang and deciduous shade to keep things cooler in the hot months, and full access for passive and active solar when the leaves are off the trees and the sun arcs lower in the sky September-April. Built the house with 200 amp service just a few feet away from where an electric car would be parked outside either on the driveway/in the garage (ie, 2 easy EV spots) Thinking ahead is not rocket science, and the added cost at time of building for even longer roof rafters than 'normal' on the south side for overhang was chump change. Ketchikan or Prince Rupert in BC are exceptions. Actually, moderately far north in Canada and Alaska can be great solar sources with the correct angle as it tends to be drier and sunnier in winter, even if cold, and even if the days are shorter, because the amount of sunshine tends to be of better quality.

True Canadian Facts: One of the BEST places to have a greenhouse in Canada is in the Saskatoon area of Saskatchewan, and the Edmonton region of Alberta and points south, both in the dry prairie lands. (also the upper Ottawa River Valley in Eastern Ontario, with similar winter temps) You can add heat, but sunshine is what is required. Very sunny, very clear skies in winter on average, even when it is -40.

kiwisugarbuns | 04. toukokuu 2017

@DTSea,

If you define less than 5 years as a looooooooooooooooooong time, then we are in agreement.

Gas/Diesel cars will be removed from city centers by then as well.

Google: Four of world's biggest cities to ban diesel cars from their centres

Look into the future.

It AIN'T FOSSIL FUEL

Frank99 | 04. toukokuu 2017

Pulling a couple of 50 amp circuits to the garage is so simple and cheap during home construction that there's simply no good reason not to. You'd likely have to upsize the panel for $25, put in an extra $200 worth of wire, and a pair of 14-50 outlets for $20 - less than $300.

rgrant | 04. toukokuu 2017

Nice straw man J.T. We all know that large parts of the US get a ton of sun. It's a great idea for a housing developer to differentiate their offering that way.

DTsea | 04. toukokuu 2017

National code is about safety- mainly fire.

So by looooooong i mean 'never.'

We also have a serious affodability crisis in housing. So mandating expensive things that arent about life safety is a non starter.

Now, if solar gets super cheap, people might choose it without a code requirement.

mark.willing | 04. toukokuu 2017

@J.T. and Jordan R,...Obviously, the mantra, "location, location, location" applies in this instance. Hence, my first statement, "I don't know about making it a requirement or code..." as I was questioning this myself. However,...if there are known infrastructure/grid problems AND it is in a great location for rooftop solar,...then, maybe for the greater good of the community,...there may be a case for it with all new construction. I don't believe this new building code applies to existing structures. I am not in favor of forcing someone to install rooftop solar, but more to my second statement, if the location is great for rooftop solar AND the consumer demand is there, then it may be a great selling point.

David N | 04. toukokuu 2017

National code, probably never in our lifetime.
Local communities instituting their own local codes has already started and will continue to catch on. How fast ? No one knows.

rxlawdude | 04. toukokuu 2017

@Watt fun, my pedantic science background forces me to opine that solar WATER heating is not driven by photons, but by infrared radiation. :-)

Tesla-David | 04. toukokuu 2017

@J.T.. I live in Edmonds, WA and Have 13.2 kWh solar system on our home, producing >250% + of our electricity needs off our roof for our all electric home, which includes charging our Model S. As @mark.willing stated, the caveat is location of home relative to potential shading issues, but even with some shading microinverters have worked for us to counter shading losses from trees around our home.

Remnant | 04. toukokuu 2017

Rather than solar rooftops, it would probably be easier to develop a large market for two-way-swiveled, max-light-seeking, auto-start, broad-spectrum, scalable PV arrays.

Such arrays would be powerful competitors against the fossil fuel power generators currently on the market.

holidayday | 04. toukokuu 2017

rxlawdude: " not driven by photons, but by infrared radiation."

Infrared is on the same spectrum as light. Thus, infrared is also made of photons. (just of a longer wavelength)

Haggy | 04. toukokuu 2017

"National code is about safety- mainly fire."

That's why codes specify how many outlets based on feet of wall space, which walls need outlets to assure extension cords aren't required, etc. They assure a minimum number of kitchen outlets per counter area based on the length of the counter, and assure that if the counter is interrupted by a stove, there's one on each side rather than going by the spacing alone. They assure they are 20 amp even though most kitchen appliances are 15 amp. Having people use an extension cord from a dryer outlet could become a potential common hazard if people find it cheaper to get a gas dryer, freeing up the outlet for a different use.

Likewise, there are people who cheat. There are devices that allow people to use two 20 amp outlets and a box to come up with a 40 amp outlet. It assumes that people know that they are supposed to be on separate circuits out of phase if they want to simulate what they are ending up with, but I would consider it a general hazard if people start doing things like that.

It's not just about making outlets safer but of assuring an appropriate number and type in appropriate locations.

The nice thing about having it as part of a code or municipal requirement is that a single builder can't skimp to save $50 per home when building 300 homes in a development, nor do they find themselves at a competitive disadvantage if they do install it. Also, requirements could be less stringent. When my home was built, the builder had to put in main breakers for AC, and wiring to another box near where AC would go, but that box had no breakers. Requiring the wiring alone would allow homeowners to have an outlet added easily or install a wall charger instead.

It would also standardize things such as outlet height to whatever is shown to be safest.

Tarla's Driver | 04. toukokuu 2017

For solar, I would want code to require running the wires to the roof, but not necessarily installing the panels. It would cover the part of solar installation that is much cheaper during construction. Or perhaps require solar for new construction at 1W per square foot, but allow people to sell installation credits if they install more than required to people who choose to not install solar (due to trees or whatever). I could go on about technical details (how to count Watts for non-optimal installations, etc.), but you get the point.

I agree that installing a 50A outlet for each garage space in new construction makes all kinds of sense. The only issue is that the car makers haven't standardized where the plugs go yet. Bolt, Volt, and Fiat 500e are in front of the driver's door. On the Leaf and Zoe is in the front. Tesla is on the driver's side near the rear. The BMW i3 and Smart EV are on the passenger side rear. Where should the code require it? My garage lacks 120V outlets except one near the fuse panel (now used for my FiOS box) and two on the ceiling for the openers (one also with a heavy duty extension cord for my Leaf). I had an electrician install 14-50 outlets when I bought the Tesla.

Note: Passenger-side charging is best for parallel parking street chargers. Front charging is best for angled perpendicular street chargers (I have to back the Tesla into one in my town to charge which is very awkward). Driver's-side charging is best for plugging in at home (if you can install the plug in the right place). I can see plenty of arguments for where to standardize plug locations, so I don't think it will standardize.

brando | 05. toukokuu 2017

Check it out. You don't have to just guess. Google maps shows your solar roof potential.

https://www.google. com/get/sunroof#p=0

Watt fun | 06. toukokuu 2017

Again, I built my new house 9 years ago, and I brought building and tradespeople up to speed with new ideas that did not cost 'extra' but delivered extra bang for the buck. (custom design by me, building cost under $100/sq ft which was even then surprising for code in my province)
-house (and therefore roof) was aligned solar south and pitch best compromise angle for maximum solar outputs year round. House was NOT square with the road, and I had MANY visitors stopping and enquiring why. Solar south was adopted thereafter by many of the new houses being built in my rural area based on my example. (I was the first) Extra cost = $0.00 Several other design elements adopted by other builders as well, after I got interviewed on local TV.
-longer rafters overhang on south side to keep 5 x 3 string of south windows in full shade June July August between 9:30-ish-3:30-ish, but allowing full sunlight to stream inside the house October-March. Extra cost = about $1,500.00 energy saving for heating and cooling substantial.
-planning size and placement of electrical supply for easy low cost future upgrades for EV chargers. Extra cost = around $0.00. It was just a tweak in positioning from what the electrician planned to do that made all the difference. Explaining what I had in mind 'turned on the lights'.

Making sensible decision making for pro-active energy wastage avoidance can be part of code. Frame it in Energy Star terms, with simple examples and people will buy into it.

sbeggs | 06. toukokuu 2017

@Watt Fun,
Nice!

stevenmaifert | 06. toukokuu 2017

As if homes in California aren't expensive enough already. Since everybody in Silicon Valley is rich, I guess Fremont can get away with it.

How do you standardize EV ready wiring? EVSE comes in different power and plug configurations, (up to 100A for Tesla's HPWC) and EVs have the charge port in different locations, so where do you run the wire to in the garage? If government feels compelled to mandate this EV goodness, they should just require the electrical service to the house and the power panel have enough reserve capacity to accommodate up to a 100A EV charging circuit and let the future home owner decide where to run the wiring and which EVSE to buy.

Earl and Nagin ... | 06. toukokuu 2017

@Watt fun +1

MitchP85D | 06. toukokuu 2017

I have no problem at all with local statutes, and local regulations. If the economics of these laws and regulations are sound, then other municipalities, counties, and even states will replicate it.

If the cost is too burdensome, then those laws and regulations should remain local.

Haggy | 08. toukokuu 2017

"Since everybody in Silicon Valley is rich, I guess Fremont can get away with it."

Since electricity is expensive, and any increase in monthly mortgage would be less than what the extra electricity would have cost per month, I guess Fremont can get away with it.

rgrant | 08. toukokuu 2017

In California you're mostly paying for the land not the house. This will be a small delta in the cost compared to a big win for the homeowner.

Homebrook | 14. toukokuu 2017

Why force people to do what is to their advantage?! Whatever happened to freedom? It seems everyone is adopting a totalitarian mindset these days.

ReneeDexter01 | 15. toukokuu 2017

Nice man!!! @watt fun

Haggy | 15. toukokuu 2017

It's for the same reason my house has to have a dryer outlet in the laundry room even though I might have a gas dryer, and for the same reason that I need to have 20A outlets in each interrupted section of my kitchen counter so I don't have to drape extension cords over my stove. There might be people who shun electricity completely but they are still going to end up with wiring that conforms to standards.

Forcing somebody to save money isn't something that most people would object to. There are some people who buy houses in cash outright, but most people will get a mortgage with 360 payments over 30 years. The extra costs would have to be $36,000 (assuming a 0% loan) for the payments to go up $100/month, and that would be far less than the amount saved on the electric bill. You can plug in more realistic costs for outlets, solar panels and interest rates, but I'd expect the increase in mortgage payments to be tiny compared to the savings in utility bill payments.

MS_Hapi | 15. toukokuu 2017

The issue I see is what kind of EV outlet does a developer provide? And where does it get installed? EV cars have many different charge requirements and car manufacturers locate their charging ports in different parts of the car from others so ideal location of an outlet will vary. Some people are comfortable backing into their garage while others not (not everyone will have Summon).

carlgo2 | 16. toukokuu 2017

At the minimum the requirement should be 3 ga wires should be sent to the garage, terminating in a sub panel. This would make for easy and flexible additions. Garages should be set up like this anyway.

One thing that worries me about the solar tile idea is that there was mention of having to train thousands of people to install them. Hopefully the intent is to train people at existing roofing companies so as to make them allies in this, rather than creating desperate and powerful enemies with roofing companies, unions, etc. Maybe even partner with roofing supply companies.

I just think it is better to get everyone involved and this should also have a good effect on local codes.

rxlawdude | 16. toukokuu 2017

"There might be people who shun electricity completely..."

Is this a "Better Call Saul" reference? :-)

science-isbetter | 16. toukokuu 2017

RXLawDude. I'm more pedantic than you are. While all photons are not created equal, infrared are also photons.

Uncle Paul | 16. toukokuu 2017

In So Cal most new home builders offer two option packages.
1. A Solar prep package. The wiring or conduit to mount solar panels, breakers in the panel, and a outlet in the garage. All to code and ready to install panels when the homeowner chooses.

2. Full solar with everything installed and ready to go, along with a warranty tied to the house and included in the mortgage.

No regulations require this be done, but it is something they offer to add value to the home, and extra profit to the builder.