California’s Bright Future: The Solar Mandate

On May 9th, the Sunshine State became the first to require a solar installation on new housing. This historic development is that latest sign that solar energy is gaining traction around the U.S., hopefully setting precedent for many states to come.

The California Energy Commission unanimously passed the 2019 Energy Efficiency Standards, mandating all new housing developments up to 3 stories to include some solar energy installation in the home. This is apart of California’s goal to have 50% of their electricity to come from non carbon sources by 2030 and cutting down greenhouse emissions by 40%. Under this mandate, builders must either include individual solar panels on homes or attach groups of home to a shared power system. Homeowners will either pay for this new power source inclusively in the initial housing price or in a monthly fee.

According the the Commission, this plan is estimated to use 53% less energy than under the 2016 standards, majorly progressing towards their 2030 goal. In addition, greenhouse gases are expected to decrease by 700,000 metric tons due to this mandate.

Solar panels are roughly suppose to provide about 60-70% of quality energy for the average home. In the winter, solar panels will still produce energy on cloud-filled days and actually increase output in colder temperatures. To provide even more insurance, the mandate dictates that houses would still be attached to a power grid to ensure a constant supply of energy among all weather conditions.

For those concerned about the the price of this mandate, the costs associated with this plan are negligible as the savings outweighs the costs overtime. While the initial cost of construction is estimated to increase about $10,000, environmental economists predict solar efficiency will save homeowners around $19,000 on electric bills over 30 years, averaging at $80 per month.

The California mandate made a giant step towards sustainable consumption and paves the future for solar energy. From solar houses to solar street lights to even solar powered cars, the market for solar is growing and demands attention. California and its’ energy-friendly policies are raising the bar to encourage other states to take the steps towards sustainable living and prove that investing in solar is worth it.

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