Renewable Energy

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 will launch a Community Choice Energy program, promote the installation of solar panels at new homes and businesses, and add solar panels to municipal facilities, among other initiatives. Implementation of these measures is estimated to reduce the City’s GHG emissions by 430 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) by 2020 and 21,000 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 is 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. 

After completing a Technical Feasibility Study and Governance Analysis Report to assess the feasibility of establishing a CCE program and determine the optimal government partnership, in August of 2019, Encinitas City Council opted to join a regional CCE program led by the City of San Diego, along with the cities of Chula Vista, La Mesa and Imperial Beach.  The regional CCE partners, now operating as San Diego Community Power, submitted an Implementation Plan to the California Public Utilities Commission in December 2019 and is on track to begin serving power in 2021. To learn more about San Diego Community Power, follow this link to their website.  

In 2019 SDG&E delivered about 45% of its power from renewable sources. SDCP is anticipated to provide least 50% of its electricity from renewable resources when the program launches in 2021. SDCP will allow customers to opt up to 100% renewable energy at any time, and increase overall renewable content as the CCE program matures.

A kilowatt is a measure of power, or how fast something generates or uses energy. The capacity of a solar photovolatic (PV) system to generate energy is measured in watts. Solar PV systems installed on single family homes typically range in size from 5 kW to 20 kW. One kilowatt equals 1,000 watts. 


An infographic in 3 parts. Source: Community Choice Aggregation. Delivery: Utility. Customer: You


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 emissions from residential electricity use even further, the City is drafting a second ordinance to require solar PV installations as part of new and remodeled multi-family home construction in excess of three stories. Once in place, these requirements will 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. The second ordinance is anticipated go to City Council for recommended adoption in 2021.

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 2019, a cumulative total of 21,473 kW of solar was installed on 3,356 homes in Encinitas According to the City’s CAP, future voluntary solar PV installations plus installations that will be required by the new ordinance are expected to achieve 17,000 kW of community-wide residential solar PV capacity by 2020 and 35,000 kW by 2030.

Homes and Businesses

To reduce greenhouse gas emissions from commercial electricity use, the City is drafting an ordinance to require 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 goal to install 200 kW and 8000 kW of commercial solar by 2020 and 2030 on new constructions, respectively. After City Council adopts the ordinance, staff with begin tracking progress towards these targets.

The CAP calls for increasing solar PV capacity and energy efficiency for commercial buildings. To maintain consistency with the California Energy Code, the draft ordinance defines commercial building as non-residential buildings. In addition to commercial buildings like retail, office and warehousing, the ordinance would also apply to hotels, motels and large multi-family housing units.

Some commercial properties have already voluntarily installed solar panels. Between 2012 and 2019, a cumulative total of 2,359 kW of solar was installed at 88 commercial properties in Encinitas. According to the City’s CAP, future voluntary solar PV installations plus installations that will be required by the new ordinance are expected to achieve 3,000 kW of community-wide commercial solar PV capacity by 2020 and 6,000 kW by 2030.

Municipal Operations

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 kW solar PV system at City Hall. The system generates approximately 150 MWh of electricity annually. This is a good start, but a lot more solar power is needed to achieve our CAP goal.

In 2019, the City hired an energy consultant to design and install solar PV systems for the Encinitas Community & Senior Center, the Public Works building on Calle Magdalena, the Encinitas Public Library and more solar panels at City Hall as part of a “paid-through-savings” program. In total, the project will increase to City's solar capacity to approximately 600 kW. City Council is scheduled to consider the proposed project options in 2020.

Homes and Businesses

How You Can Help


Discover your roof’s solar capacity and your potential savings

Check out Google’s Project Sunroof
Residential and commercial projects are eligible with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs.

Finance your renewable energy upgrades
Go solar at your home or business

Use SDG&E’s Step-by-Step Guide

Status of CAP Implementation