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California may require solar on new high-rise residential and commercial buildings

Codes and Standards

California may require solar on new high-rise residential and commercial buildings

State energy commission approves proposal; Could become law in 2023.

By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | August 26, 2021

Courtesy Pixabay

The California Energy Commission (CEC) passed new standards that would mandate solar energy and storage on new commercial buildings and high-rise multifamily structures.

The new standards would affect hotel/motel, office, medical office and clinics, retail and grocery, restaurant, school, and civic (e.g., theaters, auditoriums, and convention centers) new construction. If the California Building Standards Commission also approves the standards when it votes in December, the new requirements would go into effect January 1, 2023.

New projects would also include an “energy budget” to regulate hydrocarbon use to encourage builders to incorporate heat pumps instead of gas-fueled HVAC. Critics of the new standards say they will increase project costs.

Proponents say inclusion of additional wiring at the onset can be significantly less expensive than rewiring a building for solar storage. Additional costs can be reduced through federal and state tax breaks.

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