Thursday, May 10, 2018

California Just Became First State to Mandate Solar Panels on New Homes

The new building standards, starting in 2020, are meant to increase renewable energy and cut emissions as the state sees the effects of climate change worsen.

The new solar mandate is projected to increase monthly mortgage payments for new homes but save the owners more than twice as much in energy costs. (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.
Rooftop solar, already more common in California than anywhere else in the country, will be required for most new houses and apartments by 2020, part of a landmark policy adopted on Wednesday that supporters hope will inspire other states to follow suit.

The California Energy Commission voted unanimously to approve the building standards in a process that was notable for the lack of high-profile opposition.

The commission estimates the rules will lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 493 million pounds of carbon per year.  That's roughly equivalent to taking 50,000 cars off the road.

"This is a huge milestone for distributed solar," said Mike O'Boyle, electricity policy manager for Energy Innovation, a San Francisco think tank.  "This could ultimately drive down the price of rooftop solar by building expertise in the roofing and home construction industries, creating incentives for home builders to streamline their building and solar designs to minimize cost, resulting in a virtuous cycle."

Today, about one in five newly built houses in California have solar panels, which means the state's rooftop solar industry is already operating on a large scale, and now will need to accelerate its growth.

The solar package is part of a broader set of building standards, all aimed at achieving deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Read more at California Just Became First State to Mandate Solar Panels on New Homes

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