California OKs Solar Mandate for New Homes
California will become the first state to require all new homes to have solar power. The new requirement will take effect in two years.
California has been the first to approve such a move on a statewide scale. By 2020, builders will be required to make individual homes available with solar panels or build a shared solar-power system that could serve a group of homes. The rooftop panels can either be owned by the homeowner and rolled into the cost of the home or leased on a monthly basis.
The mandate could add up to $16,000 more to the cost of a home. But homeowners’ lower energy bills will make up for the extra costs of adding solar, state officials and clean-energy advocates say. Based on a 30-year mortgage, the Energy Commission estimates that the standards will add about $40 to an average monthly payment. The commission also estimates consumers could save $80 on monthly heating, cooling, and electricity bills.
California’s new mandate stems from a requirement that at least 50 percent of the state’s electricity needs to come from non-carbon producing sources by 2030. Solar power is becoming an increasingly important part in meeting that goal.