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California just became the first state in the United States to require solar power for new homes. The California Energy Commission voted unanimously to approve the new building standards, which come into effect on January 1, 2020.

According to the New York Times, Lynn Jurich, CEO of Sunrun, said: β€œThere is… a real American sense in the freedom to generate electricity on my roof. And this is another example of California leading the way“.

Homes built in California in a few years will need to be equipped with solar power systems. The requirements, called Energy Efficiency Standards in Buildings 2019, “increase the cost of building a new home by about $ 9,500, but save $ 19,000 in energy and maintenance costs over 30 yearsAccording to an FAQ document from the California Energy Commission. According to the New York Times, Andrew McAllister, a member of the commission, said: β€œAny additional amount on the mortgage is more than made up. It’s good for the customer“.

Palo Alto, Stanford and the South Bay towns of San Francisco. Photo: Miscellaneous photography /Shutterstock

The Commission said in a press release that the regulations would reduce greenhouse gas emissions as much as if around 115,000 fossil-fueled cars were taken off the streets. The new rules focus on four areas; in addition to residential solar power, updated thermal envelope standards (which prevent heat transfer from indoors to outdoors and vice versa), residential and non-residential ventilation requirements and requirements for non-residential lighting.

People are wondering if California’s new term is the best path to a cleaner state. Severin Borenstein, professor of economics at Berkeley, β€œbelieves residential rooftop solar is a much more expensive way to switch to renewables than large solar and wind installations“.

California has been promoting solar home installations for low-income families for years, even offering the installations through various initiatives.

+ Information:California Energy Commission