Boosted by tax incentives and increasing concerns for the environment, solar power has grown exponentially in the U.S., projected to double from 1 million solar panel installations in 2016 to 2 million by the end of 2018. Meanwhile, a landmark California mandate will ensure the industry’s sunny future.
The New California Law
According to a unanimous vote by the California Energy Commission (CEC) in May 2018, California now mandates that every new home built will have solar power capabilities. Effective January 2020, all new homes will either have rooftop solar panels or be connected to a power system shared by a group of homes. This affects not only houses, but also apartment buildings three stories and under. The law will add roughly $9,500 to the price of a new home but will save homeowners about $19,000 in energy bills over the course of 30 years.
California is viewed as a leader of environmental efforts. The state is trying to drastically reduce its emissions by 2030 and has been working towards each home having a net energy of zero — every home producing as much energy as it consumes. This new law will certainly help the state reach these goals, the desired effect being to lower both emissions and energy bills across the state.
This mandate is predicted to:
- add about $40 in monthly mortgage payments, but save each homeowner about $80 on their monthly energy bill
- decrease home energy consumption by 53%
- reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to taking 115,000 cars off the road
- increase solar demand by about 15% annually
- save California as a whole $3.87 billion in energy bills
Though this new law comes with its downsides, such as raising median home cost, it seems that the environmental benefits and energy bill reductions will outweigh these costs.
Implications for the future of solar power
The new law will undoubtedly increase demand for solar power in California, as the nation watches on. Because California is the first to create a law like this, other states may follow, including North Carolina (the second-ranked state in solar power), Arizona, and Hawaii.
CPP has a long history of working with the effects of wind on roof-mounted solar panels and has made many breakthroughs. For more information on CPP and solar panels, visit our page on solar panel arrays.