Updated 12:36 pm, Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Photo: Michael Macor / The Chronicle 2015
California regulators on Wednesday unanimously approved requiring solar arrays on virtually all new single-family homes built in the state starting in 2020, saying the move would fight climate change, reduce air pollution and cut monthly bills for home buyers.
The California Energy Commission, which since the 1970s has set energy-efficiency standards for buildings, took the historic step even as the state faces a deepening housing affordability crisis.
But the commission’s staff estimated that while the mandate would add about $40 to a typical new home’s monthly mortgage, it would cut the monthly utility bill by $80. The savings should improve if solar prices continue to fall. The move received the backing of solar companies, as well as building industry groups.
“It’s become clear to all of us that it’s the right thing to do, and the marketplace is ready,” said Commissioner Andrew McAllister.
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Commissioners also expressed the hope that other states would eventually follow California’s lead.
“The fact that the fifth largest economy in the world is doing this is significant,” said Commissioner David Hochschild. “We are the first state adopting this standard. We will not be the last.”
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