Is Living Off Grid Legal in San Diego California?
Off grid living is usually legal in California. State laws are generally very friendly towards off-grid living. However, you’ll have to meet extremely strict building codes and get a permit for nearly everything.
Getting water rights can be problematic, and there’s currently no guarantee that wells won’t go dry. You may also encounter a law that requires you to connect to the municipal sewer system if one is located nearby, which would thus make it illegal for you to go completely off-grid in CA.
California Zoning Laws and Off-Grid Living
Zoning laws are local laws that dictate everything from setbacks to how many chickens you are allowed to have on your property. All areas of California are subject to some type of zoning. These laws might make it illegal to live the type of off-grid life you want on your property.
Local zoning laws can vary drastically between counties. You’ll need to do a lot of research to figure out what is allowed in the area, especially if you choose to use any alternative building materials, live in a mobile home or tiny home, or have multiple accessory dwellings.
You might also find it useful to read: Homestead Declarations Explained
Off-Grid Electricity in California
Off-grid electricity used to be illegal in California under Title 24. The law required residential homes to have an “interconnection pathway.” However, the law has recently been updated and now specifically allows off-grid electricity.
Solar Laws in California
California is one of the best states for solar power. As of 2020, all new homes up to three stories high must have a solar photovoltaic system installed. The system must be able to meet all of the estimated annual energy consumption of the home. The solar mandate also applies to accessory dwelling units (ADUs), so you’ll need solar panels on your “granny flat,” too.
Even though California is very friendly towards off-grid solar, it is still the strictest state in America regarding code requirements. Your system will need to meet all of these requirements:
• California Building Code, Title 24, Part 2
• California Residential Code, Title 24, Part 2.5(One- and Two-family dwellings)
• California Electrical Code, Title 24, Part 3
• California Mechanical Code, Title 24, Part 4
• California Plumbing Code, Title 24, Part 5
• California Energy Code, Title 24, Part 6 California Fire Code, Title 24, Part 9
If you decide to connect your solar system to the grid, you will also need an interconnection inspection and approval from the utility company. There is net metering for grid-tied systems.
To learn more about off grid living or solar energy for your home, contact 48 Solar for a free consultation and learn how you can take your home off the grid in San Diego California .