Solar energy systems could power all new homes in California

California to become first US state mandating solar on new homes

California is expected next week to mandate that most newly constructed homes include solar panels starting in 2020.

California will take a huge leap in its energy standards said one analyst as no other state in the country mandates solar and that will be done following the vote next week. In addition to single-family homes, they would apply to new multifamily buildings of three stories or less.

Specifically, California has 16,200 MW worth of solar installed, and 5,600 MW worth of wind energy - although, more recent figures suggest that even in the last few months of 2017 California was installing solar, as a report published earlier this year by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association put California's total levelof solar at 19,818 MW. An assistant professor of Environmental Studies and Sciences at Santa Clara University believes that's because Californians are excited about renewable energy and the prospect of saving money on energy bills.

"Going to 100 percent is a really big, big jump", Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA) told the Times. That, in turn, could reduce the costs of panels and make solar more affordable in many places, not just in California or even the US. "No other state in the nation mandates solar, we are about to take that leap". However, it does provide "compliance credits" for homebuilders who install storage batteries like Tesla's Powerwall, letting them build smaller panel arrays knowing that excess energy will be available to use off-hours.

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Only 15 to 20 per cent of new single-family homes in California now have solar power installations.

But that $25,000 to $30,000 will result in $50,000 to $60,000 in the owner's reduced operating costs over the 25-year life of the home's solar system, Herro said. However, most people reportedly declined due to their presumption that it is just added bills to pay.

"It's kind of indicative of what California does first is that we look at these kind of ideas." says Balkar Gill with Nova West Solar.

While net-zero remains an admirable goal, getting there is not yet cost-effective, state officials and experts said.

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