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California Solar Homes

2020: California Mandates Solar Panels in New Homes

Posted on June 8, 2018 by David Green

California, known as the beacon of renewable energy in the United States, unanimously approved a historic plan on May 9, 2018 of installing solar panels in every new home starting in 2020. After California Energy Commission (CEC) announced this new law, California has become the first state in US to mandate solar energy installations on most single-family homes as well as multi-family residential buildings up to three stories, including both condos and apartment complexes. The regulatory body while announced the law, said this new arrangement will reduce greenhouse gas emission. 

California, the world's fifth-largest economy, carries a reputation for pushing the boundaries if it is about going green. The state however, already has a law, which says by the year 2030, at least 50% of all electricity will come from carbon emission free sources, including solar, wind, geothermal or hydroelectricity. Now, this recent move of mandatory solar panel installation has added another feather to the state’s hat. 

What you need to know about this new law?

This new law is actually a ‘set of standards’ that mandates much more than just solar panels on every newly-raised roof.New buildings need to have better insulation and better ventilation, and also require energy-efficient upgrades to lighting for non-residential buildings. The 2019 Energy Efficiency Standards also encourage demand-responsive technologies, including battery storage systems and heat pump-based water heaters. These will allow people to store electricity when they generate too much and use less energy on heating. 

The alternate energy production of the state majorly depends on solar power. Therefore, this is increasingly becoming a driver in the growth. New rate structure coming in 2019, will charge California customers based on the time of day they use electricity. Home owners, who have energy-efficiency features such as battery in particular, will avoid higher costs of installing solar panels.

Following this rule, builders need to take one of two steps, make individual homes available with solar panels, or build a shared solar-power system serving a group of homes. Rooftop panels can be owned outright or rolled into the home price. On a monthly basis, this can be made available for lease.

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