New homes built in California will now be required to use solar power. According to the New York Times, the California Energy Commission approved changes to a building code on Wednesday, May 9, that requires solar panels to be used in all newly-built homes beginning in 2020.
“Adoption of these standards represents a quantum leap in statewide buildings standards,” said Robert Raymer to USA Today. Raymer is the senior technical director of the California Building Industry Association.
Solar panels have been known to last more than 30 years of continuous renewable production.
“No other state in the nation will have anything close to this, and you can bet 49 other states will be watching to see what happens here in California,” Raymer said.
The environmental charge behind the mandate is nothing new in the state of California. Several California cities have issued similar mandates in the past to boost the use of clean energy.
But this is the first time a state has required all new houses to include solar power. And that’s not all. By 2030, at least 50% of California will be using electricity sourced from non-carbon producing origins.
The Energy Commission estimates the mandates would add $40 to residential homeowners’ average monthly payments based on a 30-year mortgage. But homeowners would also save $80 on utilities.
At the current rate of home building in California, which averaged at 80,000 new homes annually, the new solar mandate would increase rooftop solar installations by 44% every year. As a result, the mandate is expected to give California’s already-hot solar market a significant boost.
The environmental impact of the mandates certainly places California a step ahead of other states. Although environmentally-friendly construction methods have been increasingly used such as horizontal directional drilling (the industry standard for trenchless technology for boring 600 ft to 1800 ft in length), other states may not be as prepared to go so green so quickly.
What’s more, solar prices in California have decreased by 50% over the past five years compared to other areas. So although California is moving one step ahead, it’s able to afford to do so.
“Other states may not be ready for this step yet,” said Abigail Ross, the CEO of the national Solar Energy Industries Association. “But this is a precedent-setting policy, one that will bring enormous benefits and cost savings to consumers.”