California Mandates Solar Panels on All New Homes

Commentary & Community

California Mandates Solar Panels on All New Homes


If you want to build a new home in California after 2020, you’ll need to put solar panels on it.


In mid-May, the California Energy Commission voted to impose this requirement on most new construction. This mandate would apply to houses as well as apartment buildings and condominiums that are up to three stories high. There would be limited exceptions, such as for homes that are too shaded or that do not have enough roof space.


The commission originally considered a mandate that would require all new homes to be “net zero” in terms of energy use. That is, the homes must produce as much energy as they consume. However, because of technological limitations and concerns about the availability of renewable energy sources, the commissioners settled on a solar mandate. In 2007, the commission adopted a “net zero” goal for new home construction.


Supporters say that this mandate is a good way to help the state meet its carbon-reduction goals. Opponents contend that requiring solar panels for new homes will increase costs to home buyers, making an expensive housing market in California even worse.


Some experts estimate that this new mandate, as well as other energy efficiency requirements, could boost the cost of a new home in California by $30,000.


Do you support mandating that all new homes should have solar panels? Or should the decision to install solar panels be left to home buyers?


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