New Delhi (NVI): In California, every new home that is built after January 2020 must have solar panels installed on the roof, according to a new law.
The California Rooftop Solar Mandate applies to homes, and complexes up to three stories high. The size of the solar panel system that’s built is based on the square footage of the building, so it can meet the energy usage of the people living in it, as mentioned by Solargraf.
The California Energy Commission (CEC) says the goal is meant to zero-out energy consumption.
The new law should make home ownership more affordable, since homeowners would save on their utility bills.
The rules around energy storage devices are also changing. Those devices now generate a credit toward the minimum building efficiency standard, which will give builders more flexibility in how they meet the state’s energy efficiency codes.
Since not every area has ideal sun exposure for an efficient solar system, not all homes are required to include panels. New constructions can also abide by the new rules by connecting to a shared solar grid/solar farm built to serve multiple homes or neighborhoods.
One concern for California residents lies with the electric costs for everyone still using the grid. While people purchasing a brand new home equipped with a solar system will either pay nothing for their electricity or a fraction of their previous bills, that leaves it up to everyone who doesn’t benefit from solar to pick up the bill.
The reason for this is simple: the more people who opt out of traditionally generated power, the more the utility companies need to increase their prices to keep revenue coming in. People who are still on the grid, either because they don’t own a home or their home doesn’t have panels will end up having to pay more for the same power.
Another issue that this change will cause is the increase in the cost of building homes in California. While solar energy systems are estimated to save the average customer $19,000 over 30 years it also adds an estimated cost of about $8,400 to the total for the home construction. This could mean that a new home may no longer be an affordable or cost-effective purchase for those who may have been able to buy one before.