California Becomes the First State to Require Solar Panels on New Houses

Friday, February 8, 2019

Starting in 2020, new houses built in California will be required to have solar panels. This new provision will be a goal for other states in the country to strive for, according to Kent Sasaki, a structural engineer and member of the state Building Standards Commission. The California Energy Commission in May voted to require that new homes have solar panel installations as part of the state's Green Building Standards Code. Installing solar panels will add about $10,000 to the cost of building a house, but lower utility bulls will offset the cost, as homeowners could save $19,000 over 30 years. Homeowners will have the choice to either pay for the panels when they buy the house, leasing the panels, or signing a power purchase agreement with developers. "California is leading the country in clean energy, clean air and fighting climate change, all while saving consumers money," says Kelly Knutsen, technology advancement director for the California Solar & Storage Association. The construction industry also supports the new requirement, which will apply to all new residential buildings up to three stories high, including apartments. New homes in shady areas or where electricity rates are lower than the cost to generate solar power will be exempted from the new requirement. Elsewhere, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. are also considering solar power requirements for new buildings.

Laura Goldman; Care2 2/8/2019

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