California wants to lead the nation in clean, green energy. Transitioning from fossil fuel power to solar power is just one way in which the state aspires to help the environment and lower costs for its residents. These are just a couple of the reasons why developers need to be aware of the fact that the installation of solar panels will become part of nearly every new residential housing development beginning Jan. 1, 2020.
At present, it is estimated that no more than 20 percent of residences in California are equipped with solar panels. The California Energy Commission's new mandate extends to all new single family and multi-family residences up to three stories. The Commission does not expect new structures to be run on 100 percent solar power, however. Battery backups will kick in at night, when it is cloudy or anytime that the sun does not shine.
Even after losing approximately 14 percent of jobs in the solar power industry in 2017, the state still leads the nation in capacity and employment in the field of solar energy. It seemed like a logical step to "kick it up a notch" and require more residences to use the power of the sun for energy. Fortunately, developers have well over a year to consider how to comply with the new mandate while keeping homes buyer friendly when it comes to price, use and enjoyment.
The first step for developers may be to review all of the rules, regulations and laws regarding the use of solar energy here in California. Once clear on what it will take to remain in compliance, other practical issues such as cost, labor and other issues may be addressed. Like any other state laws, rules and regulations, they can be complex, so it may be worthwhile to consult with an experienced attorney first in order to avoid encountering any costly and time-consuming issues in the future.
Source: psmag.com, "California Becomes the First State to Make Solar Panels Mandatory", Kate Wheeling, May 9, 2018