California will require solar power on new homes

Single-family homes and low-rise multifamily homes built after 2020 will need solar systems

Single family home with solar panels (Credit: Wikipedia)
Single family home with solar panels (Credit: Wikipedia)

California has become the first state in the nation to require solar roofs on most new homes.

The requirement is part of new energy-efficiency standards adopted on Wednesday by the California Energy Commission, according to Bloomberg. It applies to single-family homes and multifamily homes with less than three stories built after 2020 with certain exceptions for buildings covered by shade.

The new standards represent a huge victory for green-minded Californians, but they will also increase the costs to build homes, which are already soaring nationwide and are especially high in California.

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The California Energy Commission determined that installing a solar power system and complying with other new measures will add $9,500 to the cost of a new home, Bloomberg reported. But it would ultimately save a homeowner about $19,000 over the span of 30 years.

Currently less than 19 percent of the 80,000 or so new homes built each year in the state incorporate solar power systems.

The announcement spurred a jump in stock prices for solar energy companies including Sunrun Inc. and SunPower Corp, which saw 3.8 and 3.7 percent price increases. Sunrun, however, focuses on installing solar power systems on existing homes, not new ones, according to Bloomberg.

Companies like KB Homes that already offer solar systems in their new homes are the best positioned to take on the new requirements. Smaller builders might struggle though, BTIG LLC home-building analyst Carl Reichardt told Bloomberg.[Bloomberg] – Dennis Lynch