New houses in California should now come with solar panels

Solar industry shares in the US are now skyrocketing after making it compulsory for new homes in California to have solar panels.

According to Bloomberg, the move confirms that solar rooftop PV is no longer a niche market. It has become a mainstream energy source with benefits for everyone.

The California Energy Commission approved the new building regulations in a bid to cut energy use in new homes by more than 50 percent.

This is part of the state’s governor Gerry Brown plan to slash carbon emissions by 40% by 2030, thus the change to the 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards.

They also include requirements for energy storage batteries. This will shift household demand from peak to off-peak, so reducing pressure on the grid. These new measures will take effect from 1 January 2020.

Tesla’s senior associate of business development and policy Francesca Wahl backed the mandate at Wednesday’s meeting. The company behind the ground-breaking big battery at Hornsdale Energy Reserve in South Australia is keen to see wider use of energy storage systems.

Batteries like the Tesla Powerwall are increasingly popular in Australia as homeowners seek to store solar energy generated during the day for overnight use.

The code applies to new single-family houses as well as multi-family units of three stories or less. Houses unable to access solar may be able to tap into community-run solar schemes.

The new solar regulations will be targeting four main areas of energy efficiency: Non-residential lighting requirements, Smart residential solar panel systems, Updated thermal envelope standards, and Residential and non-residential ventilation requirements.

Adding solar panels could mean another US $10,000 to the cost of a new home according to the Energy Commission, but this would be offset by around US $19,000 in anticipated energy and maintenance savings over 30 years.

Overall, new buildings should be more energy efficient and also contribute to a reliable grid.

This means having lower operating costs, promote smart technologies, and allow residents to enjoy healthy indoor air.


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