California becomes 1st US state to mandate solar for new homes

Residential solar system. Author: mjmonty. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

May 10 (Renewables Now) - The California Energy Commission (CEC) on Wednesday adopted new building standards that will require nearly all new homes in the state to have solar panels from 2020 onwards.

CEC gave its unanimous support to the plan that is intended to cut energy use in new homes by more than 50%, and thus became the first state in the US to make this move. The new rules will take effect on January 1, 2020 and apply to single-family houses and apartment buildings up to three stories tall, envisaging some exceptions for homes that are too shady or have not enough rooftop space for installing photovoltaic (PV) panels.

“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 rules focus on smart residential PV systems, updated thermal envelope standards, residential and non-residential ventilation requirements and non-residential lighting stipulations. The standards also set requirements for newly-built healthcare facilities, apart from residential properties.

The adoption of the 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards will lead to around USD 80 (EUR 67.4) of monthly savings on heating, cooling and lighting for residential homeowners, based on a 30-year mortgage, while homeowners will only see an additional USD 40 to monthly payments. Meanwhile, non-residential dwellings will achieve energy savings of 30%, the Energy Commission estimates.

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.843)

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Veselina Petrova is one of Renewables Now's most experienced green energy writers. For several years she has been keeping track of game-changing events both large and small projects and across the globe.

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