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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 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.

RE-1: Establish a Community Choice Energy Program

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 clean electrical power on behalf of residents and businesses.   

In 2019, after the completion of a Technical Feasibility Study, 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. Service was rolled out in the following phases:  

  • Phase 1: March 1, 2021 - Municipal Customers  
  • Phase 2: June 1, 2021 - Commercial Customers  
  • Phase 3: April 1, 2022 - Residential and Solar Customers (Net Energy Metering)  

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 provides 100% renewable electricity to customers at a cost that is only marginally greater than San Diego Gas and Electric’s (SDGE) current rates, which is 1 to 3% depending on the rate class. This action enables the City to achieve its 100% renewable electricity goal well in advance of the 2030 target date.

Last updated August 26, 2022

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. 


Community Choice Energy Infographic


RE-1: Establish a Community Choice Energy Program

Number of Active SDCP Accounts by Customer Type

In 2021, SDCP recorded 3,375 active accounts in Encinitas, which includes municipal, commercial, and solar (net energy metering) commercial. Residential accounts were not enrolled as of 2021.

Last updated August 26, 2022

RE-1: Establish a Community Choice Energy Program

Number of SDCP Accounts by Service Type

In 2021, 99% of accounts were subscribed to Power100 (100% renewable) and 1% were subscribed to PowerOn (50% renewable). 65 accounts opted out of the CCE altogether. 

Last updated August 26, 2022

RE-2: Require New Homes to Install Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems - Homes

In 2019, the City adopted an ordinance (Ordinance 2015-13) which incorporated new statewide residential solar requirements into its 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 average annual electricity usage of the building. This supports the City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) goal to install 400 kilowatts (kW) and 1,000 kW of additional residential solar by 2020 and 2030 on new construction, respectively.

Over the past several years, many residents have also voluntarily installed solar panels on their homes. Residential solar PV systems typically range in size from 5 to 20 kW per home. Together with the new statewide residential solar mandate, between 2012 and 2021, a cumulative total of 29,644 kW of solar was installed on 4,503 homes in Encinitas. In 2021 alone, 4,048 kW of solar was installed on residential properties, which far exceeds the 2020 CAP target.

Last updated October 13, 2022

RE-3: Require Commercial Buildings to Install Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems - Businesses

To reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from commercial electricity use, the City adopted a new green building ordinance (Ordinance 2021-13) on October 27, 2021, which requires solar photovoltaic (PV) systems to be installed as part of all new commercial buildings and remodeled commercial buildings of a significant size. These requirements support the City’s CAP goal to install 2.7 megawatts (MW) of commercial solar by 2030 on new and retrofit construction projects. Staff began tracking progress toward this target once the ordinance became effective on August 2, 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 non-residential 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 non-residential properties have already voluntarily installed solar panels. Between 2012 and 2021, a cumulative total of 3,947 kilowatt (kW) of solar was installed at 99 commercial properties in Encinitas. In 2021 alone, 676 kW of solar was installed on non-residential properties. 

Note: There is no 2020 target set on this graph, as this measure was revised as part of the interim 2020 Climate Action Plan (CAP) update.

Last updated October 13, 2022

MRE-1: Supply Municipal Facilities with On-Site Renewable Energy

Municipal Facilities with On-Site Renewable Energy

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.

Last Updated October 13, 2022

Homes and Businesses

How You Can Help


Discover Your Roof’s Solar Capacity and Your Potential Savings
Residential and Commercial Projects are Eligible for Financing with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Programs
Go Solar at Your Home or Business

Last updated August 30, 2022

Status of CAP Implementation