You are about to start seeing more solar panels on rooftops across California.
The state is the first in the nation to require solar panels on new homes, starting January 1, 2020. The mandate, which comes from the California Energy Commission (CEC), will help meet the state’s goal to produce 50% of its energy from renewable resources by 2030.
Single-family homes and multifamily dwellings up to three stories high must abide by the new standard, which CEC predicts will add about $9,500 to the cost of an average new home. CEC also estimates, however, a homeowner will save $19,000 over the course of a 30-year mortgage.
“With this adoption, the California Energy Commission has struck a fair balance between reducing greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously limiting increased construction costs,” said Dan Dunmoyer, California Building Industry Association CEO and president.
Homebuyers will have the option of purchasing solar panels outright, leasing them, or using a shared solar grid that serves multiple homes in a neighborhood. Exemptions to the rule include homes with limited roof space and those that receive an abundance of shade.
New homes that are built in 2020 and beyond are expected to use 53% less energy than those under the existing standards, CEC said.
“Under these new standards, buildings will perform better than ever at the same time they contribute to a reliable grid,” CEC Commissioner Andrew McAllister said in a news release after the commission adopted the solar mandate. “The buildings that Californians buy and live in will operate very efficiently while generating their own clean energy.”
The mandate stems from the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. Final terms of the solar panels rule were initially endorsed in May 2018 by the CEC. Final approval for the state’s building code came the following December.
For those considering solar power for their home or wanting more information about solar energy systems, the Contractors State License Board (www.cslb.ca.gov) has a Solar Smart page on its website for consumers.