Mandatory solar panels announced for Californian homes

California has become the first US state to announce that all new homes built after 1 January 2020 will be required to feature solar panels as part of a series of new energy efficiency standards.

Solar Panels iStock

The California Energy Commission said the new requirements would help cut energy use by more than 50%, and apply to both apartment buildings and houses.

Other measures include new lighting upgrades and ventilation improvements, along with updated thermal envelope standards – cutting emissions equivalent to taking 115,000 fossil fuel cars off the road.

“The buildings that Californians buy and live in will operate very efficiently while generating their own clean energy,” California Energy Commission energy efficiency lead, Andrew McAllister, said.

“They will cost less to operate, have healthy indoor air, and provide a platform for ‘smart’ technologies that will propel the state even further down the road to a low-emissions future.”

Under the new standards, non-residential buildings will use approximately 30% less energy due largely to lighting upgrades.

For residential homeowners, the standards are estimated to add around $40 (£30) to an average monthly payment on a 30-year mortgage, but save consumers $80 on heating, cooling and lighting bills.

“The commission has struck a fair balance between reducing greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously limiting increased construction costs,” California Building Industry Association CEO Dan Dunmoyer, said.

“We thank their staff for working with the building industry during the past 18 months and adopting a set of cost-effective standards that ensures homebuyers will recoup their money over the life of the dwelling.”

The commission has also approved a 2018-19 investment plan for its Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology programme, which has invested more than $750m in 615 projects over the last decade.


Image credit: iStock


Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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