A momentous leap in green energy was made today as the California Energy Commission voted on a bill requiring all new homes to have solar, starting by 2020. This news is startling to say the least and to put things into perspective—California just became the first and only state to mandate rooftop solar panels on new home construction.
The President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, Alice Ross Hopper stated, “This is an undeniably historic decision for the state and the US. California has long been our nation’s biggest solar champion, and its mass adoption of solar has generated huge economic and environmental benefits, including bringing tens of billions of dollars of investment into the state.”
As this vote passes, solar panel sales are predicted to explode over the next decade. California already boasts 86,414 solar industry jobs, as reported by the Solar Foundation research group, and houses 34.5% of the nation’s solar jobs. As expected, solar industry stock prices grew today, some increasing from 2-6% based on today’s news.
The push for the new solar mandate comes as part of the state’s resolution to develop “Zero net-energy buildings” that create the same amount of energy that they consume each year. The state plans for the mandate to also cover any new three story commercial housing as well.
Mandate effects on the Housing Market
Among the optimism from solar enthusiasts and environmentalists across the state, some are not as excited about the new changes. This includes homeowners, afraid their houses won’t sell compared to their eco-friendly neighbors, and future homebuyers, who will be forced to pay higher mortgages with the mandatory add-ons. The energy standards on the table add upwards of $30,000 in constructions costs, including new energy efficient lighting, appliances, and heating.
The silver lining here is that $30,000 investment is predicted to save owners $50,000 in operating fees over the next two decades.
Even so, environmentalists are calling this a win. Pierre Delforge reacted to the news by saying this was “another important step toward the environmentally-friendly, healthy and affordable home of the future.”