Bloomberg: California becomes first state to mandate solar on new homes
Posted: Wed May 09, 2018 5:09 pm
. . . Most new homes built after Jan. 1, 2020, will be required to include solar systems as part of energy-efficiency standards adopted Wednesday by the California Energy Commission. . . .
The U.S. had 10.4 gigawatts of residential solar power at the end of last year, up more than six-fold from five years earlier. The industry started slowing in 2017 amid policy changes and efforts by some companies to shift their strategies. . . .
The new policy applies to single-family houses and multifamily units that are three stories or less, and there are some exceptions for homes that are too shady. . . .
Installing a solar system and complying with other energy-efficiency measures required will add about $9,500 to the cost of a new home, according the the California Energy Commission. That would be offset by about $19,000 in expected energy and maintenance savings over 30 years, the commission estimates.
While the policy is good for the solar industry, it may not move the needle that much.
The state adds about 80,000 new homes a year, and the California Solar & Storage Association estimates that about 15,000 include solar power. The Energy Commission estimates that the average home system uses 2.5 kilowatts to 4 kilowatts of panels, so the additional 65,000 new systems would add as much as 260 megawatts of annual demand in the state -- about the size of one large solar farm.
SunPower Corp. expects the rule will increase demand for residential solar in the state by about 50 percent. The San Jose, California-based company makes panels and develops solar systems ranging from rooftops to large, utility-scale power plants. . . .