Published: Thu, May 10, 2018
Money | By Michele Stevens

California Makes Historic Decision to Incorporate Solar On All New Homes

California Makes Historic Decision to Incorporate Solar On All New Homes

Today, as expected, the California Energy Commission (CEC) approved a new policy to require almost all new homes built in the state to incorporate solar beginning in January 2020.

Meanwhile, non-residential dwellings will achieve energy savings of 30%, the Energy Commission estimates.

The commission's action on new 2019 building energy efficiency standards also apply to everything from current ventilation systems to indoor air quality.

California's housing department estimates that the state needs to build 180,000 new housing units annually to keep prices stable.

SEIA's Hopper notes that although other states "may not be ready for this step yet", California's decision is a "precedent-setting policy - one that will bring enormous benefits and cost-savings to consumers". The California Building Standards Commission will need to give the final approval before the mandate can be enacted.

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Under the new building standards, all new residential dwellings will be required to install solar panels on their roof or tap into a community solar project.

But Republican legislative leaders argue Californians can not afford to pay any more for housing in what is already an extremely expensive market. Instead of delivering electricity from centralized fossil fuel power plants, the primary objective of California's energy grid is now to move electricity among various distributed solar and wind power generators. Requiring solar arrays on new structures would advance that goal. But the panels, along with other energy efficient updates, should save homeowners money on their monthly bills.

"He worries that the requirement to put solar panels on every new house could make it harder to increase housing density in cities and near public transit, which he says would have a much bigger effect on emissions reductions".

No industry groups spoke in opposition to the solar panel requirements.

While California continues to produce massive amounts of oil and gas, the state's solar industry has simultaneously blossomed over the last two decades.

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Because of such policies, the most populous USA state has frequently been at odds with President Donald Trump's aggressive rollback of policies to combat climate change.

The California Energy Commission is posed to vote on the regulations Wednesday. "The regulations include exceptions when solar panels aren't feasible - such as on a home shrouded in shade - or cost effective", AP noted.

California has pursued a wide-ranging list of policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

A study by online real estate platform Zillow found starter homes advertising a solar energy system sold for 40 percent more than comparable homes without sun power.

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