All new Californian homes required to have solar panels

It is the first US state to introduce such a law from 2020

By Priyanka Shrestha

California has become the first state in the US to require solar panels to be installed on new homes and apartment buildings.

The California Energy Commission said the new regulation, which will come into effect on 1st January 2020, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 115,000 polluting cars off the road.

That is expected to cost homeowners an additional $40 (£30) on average on their monthly mortgage payments – but it states they will save around $80 (£59) on heating, cooling and lighting bills every month.

However, those homes where solar power is not feasible or cost effective, such as those located entirely under shade, will be offered exemptions.

The new Building Energy Efficiency Standards also updates thermal rules, preventing heat transfer from the interior of homes to the exterior and vice versa and non-residential lighting requirements.

The latter is expected to reduce businesses’ energy use by around 30%.

Commissioner Andrew McAllister, the Energy Commission’s lead on energy efficiency said: “Under these new standards, buildings will perform better than ever, at the same time they contribute to a reliable grid.

“They will cost less to operate, have healthy indoor air and provide a platform for ‘smart’ technologies that will propel the state even further down the road to a low emission future.”