The state of California is poised to become the first US state to make solar panels a mandatory addition to most newly-built homes.
The state’s Energy Commission will be voting on the legislation next week. If approved, then the measure will go into full effect for any to all houses, condos and apartment buildings up to three stories tall starting in 2020, though there will be exceptions for smaller houses or structures with abundant tree cover and shade.
According to CR Herro, vice president of environmental affairs at real estate development company Meritage Homes, the measure is expected to save the homeowner up to $60,000 over the course of 25 years.
The measure is also expected to contribute to the Energy Commission’s goal of making all newly-constructed residential buildings reach net zero energy by 2020, meaning that their solar output offsets their total gas and electricity usage. Newly-constructed commercial buildings will be projected to reach net zero energy by 2030.
California has already enjoyed a bright history with solar energy in the past – one year ago, the state received so much sunshine, energy prices dropped into the negative. And before that in 2016, California broke a solar record by producing enough solar energy to generate over 6 million homes, which is twice as much as the state was producing two years previously.
If approved, this newest piece of legislation would be yet another stepping stone for the Golden State’s fight against climate change.
“California is about to take a quantum leap in energy standards,” Bob Raymer, technical director for the California Building Industry Association, told The Mercury News.
“No other state in the nation mandates solar, and we are about to take that leap.”
Photo by National Renewable Energy Laboratory