California is now the first state to require solar power on new homes

Media Contacts

Environment California Research & Policy Center

Today, the California Energy Commission voted unanimously to approve new building codes requiring that solar panels be installed on all new homes, beginning in 2020. The new codes will apply to most single-family homes as well as apartments and condos of three stories or less. This historic decision makes California the first state in the country to mandate that all new home construction.

“California has long been home to pioneering solar policies, and we applaud today’s decision to require solar power on all new homes,” said Michelle Kinman, Clean Energy & Transportation Program Director for Environment California Research & Policy Center. “At this point, any new home or building constructed without solar power is a missed opportunity to capture clean energy from the sun and move California to a 100 percent clean energy future.”

More Americans are going solar every day. By 2017, our country had enough solar energy capacity installed to power the equivalent of over ten million homes.

California is leading the way with more solar power than any other state, thanks to nearly 800,000 solar projects on homes, schools, businesses, farms and more as of the end of 2017. As documented in our Shining Cities report, of the top 15 cities nationwide that have installed the most solar power, five are California cities (Los Angeles – 1, San Diego – 2, San Jose – 5, Sacramento – 12, and San Francisco – 14).

Yet we’re still not even close to reaching our solar potential. Every year enough sunlight shines on America to provide 100 times more power than we need. We’re capturing a tiny percentage of it. Harnessing more of this power would mean cleaner air and a more stable climate; less strain on natural resources and more resilient communities; and an energy source we can depend on to be virtually pollution-free for as long as we can imagine.