California will the first state where rooftop solar panels will be a compulsory on all new homes. The rooftop power is transcending from a niche market and becoming a common norm.
As a part of the energy-efficiency standards set by the California Energy Commission, now, most new homes that would be built after January 1, 2020, would be required to include solar systems. While the solar industry would get a boost, critics state that the cost of buying a house would rise by almost $10,000.
The rooftop solar, once considered a luxury, is becoming a mainstream energy source. California has been a pioneer of progressive energy policies including setting energy-efficiency standards for appliances and establishing economy-wide programs to limit greenhouse gases. And, the housing mandate is reportedly a part of efforts of Gov. Jerry Brown to cut carbon emissions by 40% by 2030.
At the end of 2017, the U.S. had 10.4 gigawatts of residential solar power, which was up more than six times from five years earlier. And, amid policy changes, the industry had started slowing down in 2017. Meanwhile, the solar policy of California would intensify another critical issue where the rising housing costs are observed as a drag on the economy. In the context, Brent Anderson, a spokesman for homebuilder Meritage Homes Corp. stated that home buyers would find it distasteful to be forced to pay more for solar systems.
The new policy is applicable to single-family houses and multi-family units that are three stories or less. And, there are reportedly some exceptions for homes that are shady. Market experts also believe that homebuilders would try to pass on the costs to customers. The installation of a solar system in compliance with energy-efficiency measures would add around $9,500 to the cost of a new home, according to the California Energy Commission. And, this would offset by around $19,000 over 30 years in expected energy and maintenance savings.