California first U.S. state to require solar on new homes
10 May, 2018, 14:27 | Author: Salvatore Jensen
The California Energy Commission, the agency that approved the plan, estimates that new home prices will increase by about $10,538. SEIA worked with the commission for more than two years to develop the new standards.
The solar panel mandate is estimated to apply to a 2020 inventory of about 100,000 new single-family homes and 48,000 multi-family homes in California.
"This will be nothing short of historic for our state and for our country", said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar & Storage Association, an industry group.
The California Building Standards Commission will review the proposed new energy standards in the fall for a final decision on whether to add them to the state building code.
In the long-term, building more homes - soon with solar panels - could drive down living costs in the Golden State.
The California Energy Commission hopes the first-of-its-kind statewide requirement will be a boon for homeowners and the environment.
Companies like KB Homes that already offer solar systems in their new homes are the best positioned to take on the new requirements. They estimate that for every $40 in monthly payments the energy standards increase, consumers will save $80 in energy costs. They thanked the commission for involving the building industry in the drafting process.
California is the nation's leading solar market, with more than 21 gigawatts of solar installed - five timesmore than any other state and almost 40 percent of the total solar installed in the U.S. The solar industry has created $43 billion of investment in California's economy and employs more than 86,000 Californians, a number that will grow under this new policy.
Experts suggest the cost of adding solar on new homes in areas such as the San Francisco Bay region where real estate prices are already high may not affect homebuyers as much.
The law will cover houses, condos, and apartment buildings up to three stories high.
California has long led the nation's battle against climate change and has adopted tough regulations to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Effectively integrating a growing supply of intermittent solar and wind energy will require adding far more storage, transmission, and smart grid systems. But it could prove to be more challenging for new homeowners in communities with lower housing costs such as Fresno in the Central Valley.
Vivint Solar, one of the United States leading residential solar providers, also praised the efforts, congratulating "the state of California for building the foundation to adopt a forward-thinking approach to its renewable energy initiatives".
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