California Passes Solar Requirement for Homes

It's a first for the nation
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2018 5:15 PM CST
In California, a Solar First
Solar panels.   (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan, File)

Starting in 2020, solar power will be a required feature for all new homes built in California. The rule is part of new energy standards that the state Building Standards Commission gave final approval to on Wednesday, per the Mercury News, which notes that California is the first state to have such a requirement. The California Energy Commission first approved the plan in May, CNBC reports. Commissioner Kent Sasaki called the move “historic” and said it will be a “beacon of light for the rest of the country,” per the Mercury News. Opponents, however, say that the solar requirement will be expensive for homebuyers and make it even more difficult to buy a house in California’s already pricey market.

Officials estimate that the new energy standards will add $10,000 to the cost of building a home. But, they add, the upfront cost will be offset by lower utility bills. The provisions call for all new residential buildings that are up to three stories high, including apartments, in the state to be solar powered. Offsite production, such as contracts with utility-owned solar farms, is allowed. And there are exceptions for shady areas or areas where solar power would be costlier than the prevailing energy rates. Also included in the energy standards are requirements for thicker insulation and more energy-efficient doors and windows, among others. (This NASA probe got super close to the sun.)

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