California Is On Track To Require Solar Panels On New Homes

Homebuyers' wish lists rarely include solar

The commission estimated solar panels could increase construction costs for a single-family home by about $10,000.

The minimum amount of solar power required by the new standards wouldn't be enough to meet all the needs of most homes.

"Homes under the (new) standards will use about 50% less energy than those under the previous 2016 standards", said CEC spokeswoman Amber Beck, "and greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced as if 115,000 cars were taken off the road".

About 117,000 new single-family homes and 48,000 multifamily units will be built in 2020, the commission estimates.

The Golden State is one step closer to becoming The Solar State.

On Wednesday, the California Energy Commission approved new building standards effective as of January 2, 2020.

But Republican legislative leaders argue Californians can't afford to pay any more for housing in the state's already extremely expensive market.

After carefully considering this requirement, the Commission on energy of the state on Wednesday, may 9, approved it.

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Any new requirement like this was always going to increase the cost of construction, but the long-term benefits of a solar PV installation will well and truly offset those costs.

New solar systems cost about $40 per year on a 30-year mortgage and save customers about $80 per month on their power bills, NBC News reported. The rules, which would also apply to new multifamily buildings of three stories or less, don't need the approval of the Legislature. Buildings ill-suited for solar, such as ones completely shaded by trees, are exempt, and homes may comply with the new code by tapping into a community solar energy system instead of having their own solar panels installed.

Some critics, though, question the wisdom of the transition to solar at a time when California is struggling with a dire housing crisis and skyrocketing housing costs. But how quickly the investment yields returns depends on a whole host of factors, including how big your solar panels are, the price of energy where you live, and how much sun you get.

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".

Environmentalists are celebrating the new building standards, and not just because of the solar panel mandate. "[In] California, we do believe in climate change, we do believe in facts ..."

Andrew McAllister, a member of the Energy Commission, has said that this would be an important "part of an overall suite of reforms to reduce greenhouse gases".

"Solar panels have been more hit or miss", Masching said.

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