California may soon be making renewable energy history again, with reports circulating that the California Energy Commission will approve a move to make it compulsory to build solar panels on all new homes, condos, and apartment buildings from 2020 onwards.
Even so, this could change the landscape for both California's energy and the market as a whole.
The new solar mandate would apply to all houses, condos and apartment buildings up to three stories tall that obtain building permits after January 1, 2020.
According to C.R. Herro, vice president of environmental affairs for Meritage Homes, the standards could add between $25,000 to $30,000 in construction costs compared with homes built to the 2006 code. Now California is set to begin making solar a standard items on nearly every new home to be built in the state.
The goal would be to have each home produce enough energy to offset all of the gas and electricity used. A true zero-net-energy home rely on the energy gird during the night, they explain, a period when more generating plants are coming online using fossil fuel for power generation.
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Now, California is on the verge of making solar standard on virtually every new home built in the Golden State.
"California is about to make a quantum leap in energy standards", said Bob Raymer, California Building Industry Association's technical director.
Bill Watt, a former president of the Orange County Building Industry Association, said the added costs can put home prices further out of reach for many would-be buyers, the News Group reported. Solar accounts for about $14,000 to $16,000 of that cost, with increased insulation and more efficient windows, appliances, lighting and heating accounting for another $10,000 to $15,000. Over the course of about 25 years - or the average solar panel lifespan - the green-energy products could save owners anywhere from $50,000 to $60,000. However, most people have declined owing to their assumption that they are just bills that need to be paid.
"It's kind of indicative of what California does first is that we look at these kind of ideas." says Balkar Gill with Nova West Solar. This would apply once the private home's current energy needs were met.