California will soon mandate solar panels on new homes

Becomes the first U.S. state to make solar panels a requirement on homes


High atop a new house in KB Home’s Terramore development in Riverside County, a SunPower worker readies another solar panel for installation /Photo by Will Lester- The Press-Enterprise/SCNG

UPDATE: On Wednesday, May 9, California Energy Commission’s vote was unanimous: California will soon become the first state to require solar panels on all new homes and on residential buildings smaller than four stories.

The law, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2020, specifies the minimum size of the system would be based on the size of the building and can vary between 2 and 7 kilowatts of output per dwelling.

Now that it’s been made official, solar installations on new homes will skyrocket.

There will be exemptions for homes that either can’t fit solar panels or would be blocked by taller buildings or trees, but you’ll otherwise have to go green if your property is brand new.

In California, solar panels can cost homeowners between $11,928 to $25,340 on average.

The new standards would add about $25,000 to $30,000 to the construction costs compared with homes built under 2006’s state code, according to the OC Register.

But the self-produced energy is estimated to save owners $50,000 to $60,000 in operating costs over the solar technology’s expected 25-year lifespan.

Interested in solar? Get a solar cost estimate and find out how much a solar system would cost for your home or business.
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