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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

Printable Version
City of San Jose - Solar Access Design Guidelines   

Last DSIRE Review: 07/09/2012
Program Overview:
State: California
Incentive Type: Solar/Wind Access Policy
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Passive Solar Space Heat, Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Photovoltaics
Applicable Sectors: Residential, Construction
Web Site:

The San Jose Environmental Services Department has developed voluntary guidelines to encourage solar orientation in new construction. These Solar Access Design Guidelines specify that the long axis of new dwellings should face within 30 degrees west and 45 degrees east of true south. Because houses in a subdivision usually face the street, planners in San Jose found that the easiest way to achieve solar orientation was to orient the streets within 30 degrees of the true east-west axis. Homes in such a subdivision would have good solar orientation by default.

Further suggested design guidelines include aesthetic concerns for residential communities. Solar devices should not block views or be placed where they are visible from the public right-of-way. If devices are attached to the building, they should lay flush with the roof line. If they are not attached to the building, collectors should be located in side or rear yards and screened by whatever landscaping is available to reduce their visibility. Exposed hardware, frames and piping should have a matte finish, and be consistent with the color scheme of the primary structure.

For more information about solar design guidelines: see the link above and pull up the "Residential Design Guidelines" to chapter 14 for the solar access guidelines. Click the following link to view the permitting requirements or call (408) 535-3555.

  Mary Tucker
City of San Jose
Environmental Services Department
200 East Santa Clara Street, 10th Floor
San Jose, CA 95113-1905
Phone: (408) 975-2581
Fax: (408) 292-6213
Web Site:
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.