New homes and buildings in California must meet new solar energy regulations starting in 2020. Image: Compfight

California is on its way to becoming the very first U.S state to require that future homes be built with solar panels. This new requirement will be implemented on 2020.

The California Energy Commission has approved the decision (on a 5 to 0 vote). It still needs to be permitted by The California Building Standards Commission before the mandate can be officially executed, however, it is expected that they will agree to the notion.

The new rule will be applied to residential buildings three stories high – this includes single-family buildings and condos, but exceptions apply to shady homes. California’s end goal is to have at least 50% of its electricity come from renewable energy by 2030.

What does this law entail for the state?

Adding solar panels to new homes or buildings will carry a higher cost, it is expected to add roughly $9,500 to their price. That being said, proponents argue that although the price will be higher, it will be beneficial when it comes to lower electricity bills.

California’s solar policy will possibly cause critical issues in the United States’ most populous area, seeing as the higher prices on homes will take a toll on the economy (with its already infamously pricey homes) and it is expected to spark controversy among residents that aren’t willing to pay a higher fee on a rule they did not agree to.

“With home prices having risen as much as they have, I think home buyers would find it a little distasteful to be forced to pay more for solar systems that they may not want or feel like they can’t afford,” stated Brent Anderson, a spokesman for homebuilder Meritage Homes Corp. “Even though, in the long term, it’s the right answer.”

Big homebuilders like KB Home and Meritage have quite a few steps ahead seeing as they have been offering homes with solar panels for years. However, smaller homebuilders will have trouble meeting this new requirement.

The decision “reinforces the state’s leadership in advancing clean-energy solutions,” Lynn Jurich, Sunrun’s chief executive officer commented on Wednesday, “This standard will play an important role in aiding California to reach its climate and renewable energy goals.

California on renewable energy

California has already accomplished massive progress when it comes to the employment of renewable energy, with 16% of the state’s electricity being that, and with the possibility of this project being successful, it is expected that California will be one of the pioneers on using renewable energy as often as possible.

Source: Bloomberg