California Enacts Solar Panel Mandate For New Homes
California is close to becoming the first state to mandate solar panel installation on all new homes. As of January 1, 2020, all newly built homes and condominium/townhome buildings of three stories or less must be built and sold with solar panels installed. The California Energy Commission unanimously approved the requirement yesterday, May 9.
The new mandate has faced little opposition, particularly because studies have shown that the addition of solar panels to new homes will be cost effective. The average estimated cost of a solar system is $9,500, or approximately $40 per month when amortized over a 30-year loan, whereas the expected cost savings is $80 per month. Those cost savings are actually expected to increase as the cost of energy continues to increase. Even the construction industry has embraced the new requirement due to the expectation that it will increase demand for new construction properties.
The new requirement is yet another step toward achieving California’s goal of generating at least 50 percent of its electricity from non-carbon producing sources by 2030. In fact, California has already taken great strides toward this goal. In 2017, California was the nation’s leader in installed solar capacity, with 16 percent of the state’s electricity coming from solar power.
The new rule is still pending approval from the California Building Standards Commission, which is expected to take the matter in October or November, but there is little doubt that it will be approved given that it typically adopts recommendations from the energy commission. Without a doubt, the nation will be watching as California’s new law begins to take effect.
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