California Energy Commission to vote on solar-required home building

California Energy Commission to vote on solar-required home building

California Energy Commission to vote on solar-required home building

About 117,000 new single-family homes and 48,000 multi-family units will be built in 2020, the commission estimates.

Electricity consumed by residential and commercial buildings is responsible for 14 percent of the state's greenhouse pollutants, according to the California Public Utilities Commission.

It needs final approval from California's Building Standards Commission, which typically adopts the energy panel's recommendations when updating the state's building codes.

Critics have been quick to note that the solar panel mandate will add between $8,000 (£5,900) and $12,000 to a home's cost.

In addition to the solar rule, California's plan is to also encourage all-electric homes so as to cut natural gas demand, the OCRegister said.

The California Building Industry Association supports the solar panel requirement after years of working with the energy commission to refine it, said Robert Raymer, the association's technical director. The price of solar has dropped dramatically in recent years.

Solar companies cheered the move, saying they hoped such requirements would one day be adopted in other states, too.

Just 9 percent of single-family detached homes in the state of 39.5 million people now have solar panels, according to a 2017 U.S. Department of Energy report the Energy Commission cited.

The regulations include exceptions for when solar panels aren't cost-effective or feasible, such as on a home shrouded in shade.

The new mandate will add thousands of dollars to the cost of new construction but the CEC said homebuyers will save money in the long run on their energy bill. Community-shared solar generation equipment will also be an option.

In fact, the state itself generates so much solar and wind power that it must sometimes halt production at some facilities or give the electricity away to other states to avoid overloading the electric grid.

Current homeowners would not be required to add solar to existing homes, though many in the state have done so using government rebate programmes.

Getty ImagesLuminalt solar installers Pam Quan (L) and Walter Morales (R) install solar panels on the roof of a home on May 9, 2018 in San Francisco, California.

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