A new California solar panel mandate by the California Energy Commission (CEC) requires all new single-family homes and apartment structures of three stories or less, as well as those with major renovations, to use solar panels by 2020.
Shaded dwellings and other structures that comply with the mandate must participate in a solar community project or compensate with energy upgrades.
Concerns about the low rate of only 15 percent of the 113,000 housing units under construction each year that include rooftop solar panels led to the unanimous 5-0 decision. The CEC boosted other energy standards as well to make new homes produce the energy that they consume.
The net-zero-energy mandate of 2007 aims at the increased use of solar power, an increase in battery storage and a decreasing reliance on natural gas. Commercial construction must comply with the California solar panel requirement by 2030.
Across the country, more homebuilders are realizing that solar represents a good investment for their portfolios as all California new housing requires solar panels. Therefore, the value of homes with solar conversion is set to increase over the next decade.
For residential homeowners, the CEC estimates that California requiring solar roofs by 2020 will add about $40 to an average monthly payment over a 30-year period. That may seem like a lot, but it’s also estimated that consumers will save $80 each month on monthly heating, cooling and lighting bills. This more than covers the increase in mortgage payment.
Non-renewable energy sources are finite and we can expect the cost to rise over time. Solar Energy is renewable. By installing solar panels on homes from the start, a home will help to combat greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the collective dependence on fossil fuel. By making the installation of solar panels mandatory in California from the beginning, homes will rely on renewable energy sources more from the start.
Electrical power use is expected to increase in the US over the next decade. Homes that are built with solar panels installed offer homeowners an option for power that is all their own regardless of other future market forces.
In addition, the California solar panel requirement will affect the cost of solar panel energy. Pricing for solar energy materials will come down over time. As the supply and demand of solar energy installation is increased, pricing will decrease, making it more affordable for everyone.
Furthermore, solar panels have a low cost of operation. Once in place Solar Power is relatively easy to maintain and most panels come with 20-25 year guarantees + 80% performance after 25 years. By having the solar panels in place at the start, the pricing of the solar panels is rolled right in with mortgage payment instead of having an additional cost later on. This ultimately makes the move to solar panel more appealing, as it’s already included in the upfront costs.
When a government steps in, you can expect tax breaks and incentives. There are over 100 in California (including a 30% Federal Investment Tax).
With some home upgrades such as pools, decks, or patios, there is a good amount of maintenance. Solar electric power systems, on the other hand, require very little maintenance thanks to very few moving parts and solid-state electronics. Although the maintenance required is very little, some homeowners may not wish to have that task. Thankfully there are inexpensive maintenance programs available to keep solar panels working properly and efficiently.
The director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s energy efficiency program welcomed the changes that the mandate provides and calls it a sign of progress that may lead to increasing the availability of healthy and environmentally-friendly homes. The approval of the mandate pleased the state’s environmentalists.
Advances in solar technology give California residents an opportunity to achieve energy savings and protect the planet at the same time. The adoption of the mandate by the CEC contributes to the reduction of dependence on natural gas. Solar panels harness the sun’s power to create efficient and environmentally friendly energy.
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