Starting January 1, 2020, home builders will be required to include solar panels on single-family homes, as well as apartments and condominiums that are three-stories or less.
Effectively integrating a growing supply of intermittent solar and wind energy will require adding far more storage, transmission, and smart grid systems. On the other hand, self-produced energy saves owners approximately $50,000 to $60,000 in operating costs over the solar technology's expected 25-year run.
"This is a very bold and visionary step that we're taking", said David Hochschild, one of the energy commission's five members.
Waldman put the cost of solar panels at between $10,000 and $20,000. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, signed the climate change bill in 2015 despite intense lobbying by the oil industry. In the event a building isn't suitable for a rooftop array, the standards require homes have access to community solar or offset energy usage through additional efficiency gains.
"It will add to the price of the home", Durocher said.
"We thank the Commissioners and their staff for working with the building industry during the past 18 months and adopting a set of cost-effective standards that ensures homebuyers will recoup their money over the life of the dwelling". It will be the first state in the USA and first-ever government in the world to take such kind of initiative.
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The new codes also encouragebuilders to install energy storage systems such as home battery systems like the famed Tesla Powerwall, or heat pump water heating.
There are some exceptions to the new code, which is updated every three years. The price of solar has dropped dramatically in recent years. Instead of delivering electricity from centralized fossil fuel power plants, the primary objective of California's energy grid is now to move electricity among various distributed solar and wind power generators.
California is on track to require solar panels on all new homes.
The new standards represent a huge victory for green-minded Californians, but they will also increase the costs to build homes, which are already soaring nationwide and are especially high in California. Wiener, D-San Francisco, eventually froze his bill at the energy commission's request.
"We especially appreciate the CEC's willingness to work with industry to reduce overall compliance costs and provide design flexibility", Raymer said in a press statement. "Once again, California is showing its leadership in our fight for a 100 percent renewable energy future".