Solar mandated for residential properties

Creative Commons license granted by Lucas Braun

Starting in 2020, the state will require new housing builds to be equipped with solar panels and other equipment designed to turn the buildings into net-zero energy facilities.

The approval of the Building Standards Commission was final hurdle in the months-long process that will see the state become the first in the country to implement such a regulation.

With exceptions for homes that are built in fully shaded locations, houses, condos and multi-family buildings up to three stories high will be required to have solar panels. The units must produce enough energy to offset 100 percent of the home’s electricity usage. Energy use from other sources like gas won’t be factored into the equation. By including other green energy-saving options, such as energy storage or green building materials, it may be possible to reduce the size of the solar systems.

The California Energy Commission expects installation of the solar systems to cost approximately $9,500 but estimates it will save homeowners $19,500 over the life of the system.


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