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Townhomes with rooftop solar panels

California Regulators Set to Vote on Solar Panel Requirement

The California Energy Commission is expected to vote Wednesday a new requirement that newly constructed single family homes and some small multi family buildings have solar panels.

The new requirement, if approved, would begin with homes being built in 2020. It would be the first statewide solar panel mandate in the country.

The construction industry generally supports the requirement, but there are opponents, who say the short-t2erm increase in the cost of new homes is counterproductive in a state that already has areas where housing is extremely expensive. While solar panels would be expected to save homeowners money in the long-run, they could add as much as $10,500 to the cost of a home, according to the energy commission.

A spokeswoman for the Energy Commission, Amber Beck, told the Los Angeles Times that buyers of new homes on average would see monthly mortgage payments go up $40, but their monthly utility bills would decline by $80.

California has been requiring progressive energy efficiency standards in homes since the 1970s that have been ahead of the rest of the country. As a result, while per capita energy demand has generally increased nationwide since then, it has stayed flat in California for decades.

About 20 percent of new homes in California are already built with solar arrays on the roof.


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