California moves to require solar panels on all new homes

California first US state to require solar on new homes

The California Energy Commission recently adopted building standards that require solar photovoltaic systems starting in 2020, moving to cut energy use in new homes by more than 50 percent.

Solar panels can be installed on buildings and houses, and there will be no need for deforestation as is required in building a new power plant.

The cost-effective 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, which take effect on January 1, 2020, focus on four key areas: smart residential photovoltaic systems, updated thermal envelope standards (preventing heat transfer from the interior to exterior and vice versa), residential and nonresidential ventilation requirements, and nonresidential lighting requirements. It represents the state's latest step to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

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The California Energy Commission estimates that the new standards will add about $40 to an average monthly payment based on a 30-year mortgage.

The new solar farms are part of a boom in large scale solar that is about to have an impact on the grid, with some 1400MW, or $2.6 billion of projects to be connected this year, according to the Clean Energy Council.

However, an analysis by the federal Institute for Energy Research (IER), said this mandate could increase home prices by more than expected.

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Representatives of the construction, utility and solar industries all helped develop the new standard, and no industry groups spoke in opposition Wednesday.

On the contrary, Republican legislative leaders have expressed concern that cost of add-ons on housing will be unaffordable by Californians who are already grappling with the brunt of an extremely expensive market. Some homes that are shaded by trees or taller buildings, or have roofs that are too small for panels, would be eligible for exceptions. Further, the generation profile would be relatively higher than standalone wind or solar project also with lower variability in generation profile to some extent, given that generation from both the sources is at different intervals and in complimentary seasons. With around 850 MW of large scale solar now under construction, and close to a further 1.2 GW having reached financial close and set to break ground, 2018 is shaping up as a record-breaking year for large scale solar.

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