California mandates solar for new homes
Builders in California will be required to fit solar panels on most new homes from 2020 under new building standards, a move that is the first in the United States.
The decision, adopted unanimously by the five-member California Energy Commission, is part of the state’s effort to fight global climate change. It came despite estimates it would raise the up-front cost of a new home by nearly $US10,000 in one of the most expensive parts of the country.
The Commission estimated the standards will add about $US40 to monthly mortgage payments but will compensate for that by saving residents $US80 a month on energy bills.
The new building codes include updates to building ventilation and lighting standards. They are collectively expected to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 700,000 metric tons over three years, a level equal to taking 115,000 cars off the road, according to state officials.
The vote was a major win for the solar installation industry, which already counts California as its biggest market.
Demand for solar equipment in California could rise by 10 percent to 15 percent because of the new standards.
California has one of the most ambitious renewable energy mandates in the US, with a goal of sourcing half of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2030. At the end of 2017, it had reached about 30 percent, according to the CEC.
Because of such policies, the most populous US state has frequently been at odds with President Donald Trump’s aggressive rollback of policies to combat climate change.