Thinking of expanding your property lot is often an inevitable thought. You want to use the space you have and as you consider the options, an ADU comes to mind.

The possibilities of an ADU, or accessory dwelling unit, can be limitless. They also are an open space to push even more independence and modern convenience with the use of solar power.

There is a lot to understand here, so let's break down ADUs; the pros and cons, and the solar requirements in 2020.

Understanding the Basics of an ADU

For those still uncertain of what an ADU is or its benefits, let's break down the basics. An ADU is a separate building on your home property. It has all the basic amenities to be an independent living space and acts as a permanent second home of sorts.

You can get an ADU for any number of reasons, but these are some of the biggest ones.

1. ADU for the Kids

The old tradition of college was that kids moved out and would find a place of their own after finishing school.

While this is always a hope and goal, with the costs of living ever increasing, it isn't always feasible. Between low-income starting careers and student debt, it can be hard for your kids to start off strong.

An ADU gives them an independent and secure place to stay to keep them going.

2. Old-Age and Long Term Investment

If your parents need additional care, it is best to keep them as close as you can. An ADU gives them a good amount of room and privacy. It boosts independence while keeping them safe.

An ADU is also a long-term investment so your children are able to care for you easily if need be, as you go into your golden years. In this way, your ADU becomes a multi-generational blessing.

3. Home Office or Hobbies

An ADU doesn't have to be for someone to live in. Having a private space for hobbies or a home office can do wonders for productivity.

Because an ADU is a functional home, you don't have to worry about unfinished wood or infestations that might plague a shed or garage.

4. Guests of All Sorts

Sometimes you only need a little more space in your home for guests. It could be a weekend party with family members or a long trip from a friend living across the country.

In all cases, an ADU gives you space without removing the security. You have an extra space when needed and your guests can feel at home without needing to take up space in yours.

Ramping up Your ADU Needs

An ADU does not have to be a basic and bland housing unit. With the right upgrades and design, all the comforts of home such as air conditioning and internet access are easy accomplishments for an ADU.

Here at Acton ADU, we have the expertise to craft any unique and important additions to your ADU to make it a home worth living in and worth investing in. We take special care with architectural and design options that are created to serve homeowners for a generation. And of course, every home we build is permitted and building code compliant, and that includes the new San Jose solar requirements.

Building an ADU right now brings along the solar requirements of the state of California. Here at Acton, we have all of these requirements in mind, so let's go over them now.

Understanding Solar Requirements in 2020

Now that 2020 is well upon us, the California Solar Mandate is in full effect. The basics of this mandate are simple and will save new homeowners thousands in the long run.

The idea is that every new home built after January 1st, 2020 will need a solar electric system installation. This requirement applies to any residence with less than 3 stories. Which is every new ADU in San Jose, California.

This installation needs to be roof-mounted unless it proves impossible to do so. You can also add modifications to the solar panels like battery storage.

The solar panels need to have the size and capacity to offset the home's electrical use. This does not mean you need to use 100% solar power, but instead, have the choice to do so.

What is Community Solar?

You can apply for certain exemptions for these solar requirements. As mentioned, these focus around roof installation. While we at Acton ADU work roof installations into our designs, that can't always work with certain custom or pre-existing designs.

If roof installation is impossible due to space or cost, you can opt for community solar. This means you pay for energy from the government's own solar storage. This will only be a change in where your electricity comes from.

However, this does lower the potential value of your home, as well as the independence of generating your own energy.

Making Easy Work of Requirements

With the help of Acton ADU , these solar requirements become a simple addition to the accessory dwelling unit. We incorporate the roof-installation and design right into our ADU plans.

This is a massive project undertaking, so putting this in as a DIY project can be daunting at the very least. An ADU is far more than some sturdy 2x4s and electrical work.

At Acton ADU, we have a large variety of choices to fit both your needs and budget. We can do pre-approved ADUs which have preset structures and layouts (and in many cases are pre-approved by the San Jose, California Building Department. That saves a lot of time and money. We can also customize to your heart's content, giving you a perfect and unique ADU for your home.

ADU Structure Conversions

While ADUs are separate structures, many build ADUs out of garages or even basements.

When dealing with a structure already in place, the solar requirements can get tricky.

Dealing with this, and a lot of the other legal issues in addition to your home structure, can be a frustrating journey alone. That is why the Acton ADU team offers our specialization for structure conversions, more so than ever with the solar requirements. And in many cases, we’ll advise an alternate option if structure conversions are not feasible for your investment goals.

Building With Professionals

No matter the details you decide to go with, understanding the new solar requirements in 2020 for us out here in California, and the San Jose area, is important. From there, you can plan your ADU project with everything in mind.

When you are ready to take on this massive undertaking, it is best to have the right professionals on your side. At Acton ADU, not only do we possess the knowledge and expertise, but the legacy of success to do the project right. Contact us today!