New California Law Requires All New Homes Built to be Equipped With Solar Panels

Newly Constructed Homes in California Must Adhere to Solar Construction Mandate

The California Energy Commission voted to pass a law on May 9, 2018 requiring all newly constructed homes to be installed with solar panels in 2020. This is a benefit to the environment, but it also means homes will drastically increase in cost. California already has a housing shortage. However, the law might allow us to expect renewable, solar power.

“Essentially, this could turn residential solar into an appliance, like a water heater,” Morten Lund, chair of an energy storage initiative at law firm Stoel Rives LLP. “There has always been a certain inevitability about that outcome, but this is moving faster than most of us thought likely.”

About 20% of new houses are built with solar already installed. With the new law, though, that percentage will rise drastically.

The law will cause carbon emissions to decrease, but will also increase the price of homes by about $10,000 each. It fits former governor Jerry Brown’s goal to decrease carbon emissions by 40% by 2030. Also, it follows the trend of solar becoming an expense for the middle class rather than only wealthiest of homeowners.

In addition to solar heating, there will be increased use of electricity instead of natural gas for heat due to the new law.

Despite the $10,000 increase in the price of residences, costs will be more than paid for by the lower electric bills enjoyed by solar homeowners. The savings caused by solar panels are long-term and are increased substantially by federal tax credits.

“This adoption of these standards represents a quantum leap,” Bob Raymer, senior engineer for the California Building Industry Association. “You can bet every state will be watching to see what happens.”

California is the first state to pass such a law, leading the way against President Trump’s denial of global warming. California’s movement to use more solar power goes back to over ten years ago, when a law passed in hopes of making solar offset the non-renewable electricity homeowners use.

We’ll watch as the California government continues to make energy more efficient and help homeowners save money.

Israel had a similar idea even earlier through, as it required each building to include solar thermal systems. Other countries and states will be watching as California carries out its new law.