California becomes first state to require solar power in homes

Building Standards Commission approved requirement Wednesday

Dec.December 06, 2018 05:00 PM
Solar panels (Credit: Getty Images)

California has taken a major step towards its goal of being an eco-friendly trailblazer.

The Building Standards Commission unanimously approved a provision that will require all new California homes built after 2020 to be solar-powered, the Los Angeles Times reported.

In May, the California Energy Commission approved the measure.

The provision applies to single-family homes and multifamily structures with less than three stories, with certain exceptions for buildings covered by shade.

Despite Wednesday’s unanimous vote, many California residents have opposed the measure, as it is expected to add to the already-high costs of building in the state. Energy officials estimate it could add $10,000 to the cost of building a single-family home, though some of that would be offset by lower utility bills in the long run.

One estimate from the California Energy Commission claims solar power could help a homeowner save about $19,000 over 30 years.

The upfront costs of installing the panels can also be defrayed by foregoing ownership. Homeowners will have the option to lease the panels, or execute an agreement that allows them to pay for the electricity without buying the panel, Drew Bohan, an executive director of the energy commission, told the LAT.

As of May, less than 19 percent of the 80,000 or so new homes built each year in the state incorporated solar power systems. [LAT] – Natalie Hoberman

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