solar

California has become the first state in the nation to require solar panels for new homes.

California has become the first state to require solar panels for new houses.

The state’s Building Standards Commission signed off on the new requirement last week. The new rules will go into effect in 2020 and will include exemptions for homes that are built in areas with too much shade for effective use of solar power.

According to NPR:

“These provisions really are historic and will be a beacon of light for the rest of the country,” said commissioner Kent Sasaki, according to The Mercury News. “[It’s] the beginning of substantial improvement in how we produce energy and reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.”

The rule marks a new phase in California’s environmental policies, which have often set trends and established standards nationwide. The state has set the goal of drawing 100 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources and sharply reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

No one spoke in opposition to the new solar panel rules. But the commission did receive about 300 letters in opposition.

According to the San Jose Mercury News:

The new provisions are expected to dramatically boost the number of rooftop solar panels in the Golden State. Last year, builders took out permits for more than 115,000 new homes — almost half of them for single-family homes.

Wednesday’s action upholds a May 9 vote by another body, the California Energy Commission, seeking to fulfill a decade-old goal to make the state reliant on cleaner, alternative energy. The energy panel’s vote was subject to final approval by the Building Standards Commission.

The Building Standards Commission was limited to reviewing the energy panel’s rulemaking process, not the content of the standards, said commission Chairwoman Marybel Batjer. Commissioners said the process was more than sufficient, with 35 meetings, hearings and webinars held over a 15-month period. The energy panel received more than 3,000 comments from over 100 stakeholders, officials said.