Here comes the sun — California to put solar panels on all new homes

Media Contacts

Environment California Research and Policy Center

SACRAMENTO, CA — It’s official! Beginning in 2020, builders in California will put solar panels on all new homes, a move finalized today by the California Building Standards Commission. According to a new study from Environment California Research & Policy Center, these additional panels could increase the state’s existing solar capacity 22 percent by 2045.

“Every home and structure built without solar is a missed opportunity,” said Dan Jacobson, Director with Environment California Research & Policy Center. “Generating renewable energy from our rooftops helps homeowners and their communities reduce pollution and live healthier lives.”

Nationally, the report finds that if each state adopted a solar homes policy, the U.S. could more than triple its current solar power capacity while cutting current annual carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation by more than 9 percent by 2045.

“The new National Climate Assessment makes it clear that we need to stop burning fossil fuels as soon as possible and solar energy is key to that transition,” said Abi Bradford, a Frontier Group policy analyst who co-authored the report. “Installing solar panels on all new homes could add more solar energy capacity than the entire country currently has — including utility-scale installations — in just six years, from 2020 to 2026.”

In May, California became the first state to propose building all new homes with solar panels, with a policy adopted by the California Energy Commission. The commission estimates that a solar homes policy, coupled with energy efficiency improvements, will save California homeowners $19,000 in energy and maintenance costs over the course of a typical 30-year mortgage — double what they would add to the cost of a home.

The fastest-growing states would add the most solar energy if the policy were adopted, with Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and Arizona ranked at the top. The report also provides estimates for all 50 states for the potential reductions in carbon emissions.

“We can have solar-powered communities right now and for years to come with smart policy choices,” said Jacobson. “And the most efficient time to install solar panels is when workers are already on the roof.”