The Renewable Energy Strategy in the City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) aims to increase supply and access to renewable energy for existing and new residences, commercial properties, and municipal facilities. Transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources like solar and wind will reduce pollution, including greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
To accomplish this, the City has launched a Community Choice Energy program, promotes the installation of solar panels at new homes and businesses, and adds solar panels to municipal facilities, among other initiatives. Implementation of these measures is estimated to reduce the City’s GHG emissions by 434 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) by 2020 and 20,935 MTCO2e by 2030. Explore the sections below to see what the City’s is doing to achieve these goals.
Community Choice Energy
100% Renewable Electricity by 2030
One of the key goals of the City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) was to launch a Community Choice Energy (CCE) program that serves 100% renewable electricity to customers by 2030. CCE programs are not-for-profit, locally-controlled energy agencies that purchase electrical power on behalf of residents and businesses.
In 2019, after the completion of a Technical Feasibility Study and Governance Analysis Report, the City formed a CCE Joint Powers Authority along with the cities of San Diego, Chula Vista, La Mesa, and Imperial Beach.
Now operating as San Diego Community Power (SDCP), the new agency began serving power to customers on March 1, 2021. As part of this roll-out, Encinitas City Council voted to establish SDCP’s premium product, Power100, as the default electricity choice for all customers within the City of Encinitas. Power100 will provide 100% renewable electricity to customers at a cost that is only marginally more than San Diego Gas and Electric’s (SDG&E) current rates, which is 1 to 3% depending on the rate class. This action will enable the City to achieve its 100% renewable electricity goal well in advance of the 2030 target date. To learn more about San Diego Community Power, follow this link to their website.
Homes and Businesses
In 2019, the City adopted an ordinance which incorporated new statewide residential solar requirements into our local building code. As of January 1, 2020, all new single-family and multi-family homes up to three stories in California are required to install a solar photovoltaic (PV) system large enough to meet the annual electricity usage of the building. To reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from residential electricity use even further, the City's green building ordinance (Ordinance 2021-13) requires solar PV installations as part of new and remodeled multi-family home construction. These requirements support the City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) goal to install 400 kW and 1,000 kW of additional residential solar by 2020 and 2030 on new construction, respectively. Ordinance 2021-13 was adopted by City Council on October 27, 2021 and tracking progress toward this target will begin as soon as the ordinance becomes effective. The ordinance is anticipated to be approved by the California Energy Commission in 2022.
Over the past several years, many residents have voluntarily installed solar panels on their homes. Residential solar PV systems typically range in size from 5 to 20 kW per home. Between 2012 and 2020, a cumulative total of 25,596 kW of solar was installed on 3,924 homes in Encinitas. In 2020 alone, 4,123 kW of solar was installed on residential properties.
Homes and Businesses
To reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from commercial electricity use, the City's green building ordinance (Ordinance 2021-13) requires solar photovoltaic (PV) systems to be installed as part of all new commercial buildings and remodeled commercial buildings of a significant size. Once in place, these requirements will support the City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) goal to install 2,700 kW of commercial solar by 2030 on new and retrofitted commercial spaces. Ordinance 2021-13 was adopted by City Council on October 27, 2021 and tracking progress toward this target will begin as soon as the ordinance becomes effective. The ordinance is anticipated to be approved by the California Energy Commission in 2022.
The CAP calls for increasing solar PV capacity and energy efficiency for commercial buildings. To maintain consistency with the California Energy Code, the ordinance defines commercial buildings as nonresidential buildings. In addition to commercial buildings like retail, office, and warehousing, the ordinance also applies to hotels, motels, and multi-family housing complexes more than three stories tall.
Some commercial properties have already voluntarily installed solar panels. Between 2012 and 2020, a cumulative total of 3,271 kilowatt (kW) of solar was installed at 95 commercial properties in Encinitas.
The City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) set an ambitious goal of supplying all municipal facilities with enough onsite renewable energy to achieve “Net Zero Electricity.” This means that municipal buildings would generate as much electricity as they consume. The City aims to supply 50% of its municipal energy needs from renewable sources by 2020 and 100% by 2030.
In 2008, the City installed a 96 kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) system at City Hall. The system generates approximately 150 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity each year, which is equivalent to about 7% of the City’s total municipal building electricity use annually.
In 2019, the City hired an energy consultant to design and install solar PV systems for the Community and Senior Center, the Public Works building on Calle Magdalena, the Encinitas Public Library, and to add additional solar panels at City Hall as part of a “paid-through-savings” program. In total, the project is anticipated to increase the City's solar capacity to approximately 600 kW, which would be able to supply 48% of the City’s total electricity use. However, the implementation of a project of this magnitude required an upfront investment of $5-10 million in City resources, which was not available at that time. In 2020, this project was temporarily put on hold due to COVID-19 and other competing project needs. However, it is expected to be revisited as part of a future City budget cycle.
Homes and Businesses
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