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Published On: Sat, Dec 8th, 2018

California to mandate solar power on new homes to ‘reduce the consumption of fossil fuels’

California officially became the first state in the nation mandate solar power on new homes. The California Building Standards Commission voted unanimously to add the requirement Wednesday, putting solar panels on the energy standards to the state building code.

Two commissioners and several public speakers praised the new code as “a historic undertaking” and a model for the nation.

“These provisions really are historic and will be a beacon of light for the rest of the country,” said Kent Sasaki, a structural engineer and one of six commissioners voting for the new energy code. “(It’s) the beginning of substantial improvement in how we produce energy and reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.”

photo courtesy of De Aar Solar Power

The new provisions are expected to dramatically boost the number of rooftop solar panels in the Golden State.

Last year, builders took out permits for more than 115,000 new homes — almost half of them for single-family homes.

“New homes that are built under these standards are expected to use 53 percent less energy than our last standards” from 2016, said Drew Bohan, executive director of the energy commission.

“These standards won’t necessarily make homes more expensive to buy. What they will do is save money on utility costs,” said Pierre Delforge, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “This is not only the right thing to do for the climate, it is financially smart.”

The state predicts that mandatory solar panel installations and other new improvements will add nearly $10,000 in the upfront cost of a home — a cost that officials say will balance out over time, due to lower electricity bills.

Reuters reports that a homeowner could expect to save $19,000 in energy costs over 30 years, while Meritage Homes predicts reduced operating costs could amount to as much as $50,000-60,000 over a 25-year period.

Starting in 2020, California homebuyers will have the option of either paying for solar panels outright, leasing them, or entering a power purchase agreement with developers. Another option is for communities to “pool resources instead of installing solar on individual homes,” Bohan said.

 

About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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