It is obvious that the solar power has entered into the mainstream, but California is now looking to give it a massive boost. The Energy Commission of the state is expected to authorize new energy standards. It will require solar panels on the roofs of nearly all new homes, condos and apartment buildings from the year 2020. There might be exemptions for those homes that can’t fit solar panels or experiencing blockage by taller buildings or larger trees. But, they will otherwise have to go green if their property is brand new or planning to construct a new home. This plan doesn’t need that a home should reach net-zero status. It does provide compliance credits for home builders who install storage batteries like Tesla’s Powerwall.
It would enable them to build smaller panel arrays knowing that excess energy will be available to use off-hours. The new standards are poised to hike construction costs by $25,000 to $30,000 (about half of which is directly due to solar), but the self-produced energy is estimated to save owners $50,000 to $60,000 in operating costs over the solar technology’s expected 25-year lifespan. Short of a surprise rejection at the Energy Commission’s May 9th vote, this will make California the first state to have a solar panel requirement. It’s relatively easy to do this in the region given California’s abundance of warm, sunny days and high real estate prices. It’s hard to see this happening in the American Midwest, where winter and lower home prices could make solar decidedly less practical.