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News » US » Solar panels to be mandatory on new Californian homes » published 11 May 2018

Solar panels to be mandatory on new Californian homes

The California Energy Commission is introducing a requirement for solar systems to be fitted to all new homes as part of new standards that will come into effect in 2020.

From 1 January 2020, new homes in California will need to have solar photovoltaic systems Above: From 1 January 2020, new homes in California will need to have solar photovoltaic systems

The move is intended to cut energy use in new homes by more than 50%. The new building energy efficiency standards, which are the first in the nation to require solar, are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to taking 115,000 fossil fuel cars off the road.

The 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, which take effect on 1 January 2020, focus on four key areas: smart residential photovoltaic systems, updated thermal envelope standards, ventilation requirements and non-residential lighting.  

“Under these new standards, buildings will perform better than ever, at the same time they contribute to a reliable grid,” said Commissioner Andrew McAllister, the Energy Commission’s lead on energy efficiency. “The buildings that Californians buy and live in will operate very efficiently while generating their own clean energy. They will cost less to operate, have healthy indoor air and provide a platform for ‘smart’ technologies that will propel the state even further down the road to a low emissions future.”

Under the new standards, non-residential buildings will use about 30% percent less energy due mainly to lighting upgrades. For residential homeowners, based on a 30-year mortgage, the Energy Commission estimates that the standards will add about US$40 to an average monthly payment, but save consumers YS$80 on monthly heating, cooling and lighting bills.

“With this adoption, the California Energy Commission has struck a fair balance between reducing greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously limiting increased construction costs,” said California Building Industry Association CEO and president Dan Dunmoyer.


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This article was published on 11 May 2018 (last updated on 15 May 2018).

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