The California Energy Commission it to require that all homes built in the state from 2020 be fitted with photovoltaic panels.
The commission, which is a state agency, voted unanimously to adopt the policy yesterday (9 May) as part of its Building Energy Efficiency Standards. The decision followed more than two years’ work with stakeholders to develop the technical requirements.
The commission estimates that the panels will add around $40 to the cost of an average monthly mortgage but will cut $80 from an average monthly electricity bill.
The only exceptions to the bill are homes that are fully covered by shade or ones where installing solar panels would cause the owners to lose money.
Newly constructed healthcare facilities will also be required to install systems.
The new standard contains four parts:
- Residential photovoltaic systems on all new builds from 2020
- Measures to prevent heat transferring between a building’s interior and exterior
- New residential and non-residential ventilation requirements
- New nonresidential lighting requirements.
Andrew McAllister, the commission’s lead on energy efficiency, said: "The buildings that Californians buy and live in will operate very efficiently while generating their own clean energy.
"They will cost less to operate, have healthy indoor air and provide a platform for smart technologies that will propel the state even further down the road to a low emissions future."
Dan Dunmoyer, California Building Industry Association president, said: "With this adoption, the California Energy Commission has struck a fair balance between reducing greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously limiting increased construction costs."
California has already passed a law mandating that half of the state’s electricity should come from renewable sources by 2030.
Image: A solar roof installation (Wikimedia Commons/Stefan Thiesen)