State officials to vote today on requiring solar for all new homes by 2020

California may start requiring solar panels on new homes and low-rise apartment buildings built after 2020. The same official also acknowledged that adoption of the new standards is equivalent to a "quantum leap". "By demonstrating a very expensive way to reduce greenhouse gases, I think this could very likely be used in other states and countries as an argument against moving towards renewable energy". Currently, only 15 to 20 percent of new single-family homes built in California come installed with solar panels.

The Golden State is one step closer to becoming The Solar State.

While the vote was a big step forward, the proposed new standards will still have to go to the California Building Standards Commission for final consideration later this year.

The rule will go into effect on January 1, 2020, and does not need to be approved by the Legislature or the California Public Utilities Commission.

The new requirement, to take effect in two years, brings solar power into the mainstream in a way it has never been until now.


The state updates its building codes, including energy efficiency standards, once every three years.

The move still needs backing from the state's building standards commission.

The commission estimates solar panels would boost construction costs for a single-family home by roughly $10,000. The simpler requirement to include solar panels on homes has been supported by homebuilders and environmentalists, although solar industry groups pushed for the more stringent requirements.

Luminalt solar installers Pam Quan (L) and Walter Morales (R) install solar panels on the roof of a home on May 9, 2018 in San Francisco, California.

Some critics, though, question the wisdom of the transition to solar at a time when California is struggling with a dire housing crisis and skyrocketing housing costs.


California has positioned itself as the nationwide leader on clean energy, pushing for more electric vehicles on the roads and fewer emissions from residential and commercial buildings.

But builders put the costs of adding on solar to all new homes much higher. On the other hand, self-produced energy saves owners approximately $50,000 to $60,000 in operating costs over the solar technology's expected 25-year run.

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.

California becomes the first state to mandate solar panels, an approach in keeping with California's efforts to slash carbon emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.


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