Climate Action

California rules all new homes must come with solar panels

California has become the first state in the US to rule that all new homes must come with solar panels.

  • 11 May 2018
  • Adam Wentworth

California has become the first state in the US to rule that all new homes must come with solar panels.

From the 1st January 2020, both apartment buildings and homes will be subject to the new standard, which was unanimously adopted by the California Energy Commission this week.

The state is hoping the push will help reduce energy use by more than 50 percent and greenhouse gas emissions.

The solar panel mandate forms part of new energy efficiency standards, which also include promoting the use of battery storage, new insulation in attics, and improving indoor air quality.

While the ruling is estimated to increase initial building costs by $9,500, the Commission estimates long-term savings of $19,500 over a 30-year period. They also claim that the standards will save consumers $80 on their monthly energy bills.

The news was met with enthusiasm by environmentalists; Pierre Delforge, at the Natural Resources Defense Council said the move was “groundbreaking”.

“Putting solar panels on every new home built in California should be a shining example to the rest of the world on how to act against climate change.”

Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association added that: “This is an undeniably historic decision for the state and the U.S. 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.” 

California has led the US in solar power, having built a total of 19.8 gigawatts of capacity, five times higher than its nearest rival North Carolina. The state is also home to some of the largest solar plants in the world, including the 579 megawatt Solar Star project near Los Angeles.