- California regulators Wednesday approved a historic plan to mandate rooftop solar panels on most new single-family homes built in the state.
- The California Energy Commission’s action is expected to add on average about $9,500 to the cost of building new houses.
- The solar mandate, which goes into effect in 2020, received the support of homebuilder and solar trade associations as well as several large utilities.
- Solar stocks rallied on the news, with SunPower soaring 6 percent and other gainers including Tesla, First Solar and Sunrun.
California regulators on Wednesday unanimously approved a historic plan that will require most new homes in the state have rooftop solar panels that turn sunlight into electricity starting in 2020.
With the move, California now becomes the first state in the nation to mandate solar-energy installations on most single-family homes as well as multi-family residential buildings up to three stories, including condos and apartment complexes.
The solar mandate is expected to add on average about $9,500 to the cost of new houses but is projected to be offset by the solar system’s long-term energy savings.
The mandate, approved 5-to-0 by the California Energy Commission, is part of the state’s 2019 update of energy efficiency standards and ongoing efforts to help reduce greenhouse gases. The state’s building sector is the second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions when fossil fuels power plants are factored in.“This is an undeniably historic decision for the state and the U.S.,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade association with about 1,000 member companies. “California has long been our nation’s biggest solar champion, and its mass adoption of solar has generated huge economic and environmental benefits, including bringing tens of billions of dollars of investment into the state.”
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