California this month became the first U.S. state to require solar panels on almost all new homes.
Most new units built after Jan. 1, 2020, will be required to include solar systems as part of the standards adopted by the California Energy Commission. Estimates are that the mandate will drive up the cost of buying a house by almost $10,000.
The PV-on-house law is a new component of Governor Jerry Brown’s effort to slash carbon emissions by 40% by 2030, and provides a potential roadmap for other states to follow. The U.S. had 10.4 gigawatts of residential solar power at the end of last year, up more than 600% from five years earlier. California’s move will boost the residential solar industry, which started slowing in 2017 after government policy changes and efforts by some companies to shift their strategies.
Installation of a solar system and other energy-efficiency requirements will add about $9,500 to the cost of a new home, according to the California Energy Commission. The cost would be offset by about $19,000 in expected energy and maintenance savings over 30 years, according to the commission.