California officially becomes first state in US to mandate solar power for new homes

‘Historic undertaking’ expected to boost number of rooftop solar panels across the Golden State.


California officially became the first state in the nation on Wednesday, Dec. 5 to require homes built in 2020 and later be solar powered.

To a smattering of applause, the California Building Standards Commission voted unanimously to add energy standards approved last May by another panel to the state building code.

Two commissioners and several public speakers lauded the new code as “a historic undertaking” and a model for the nation.

“These provisions really are historic and will be a beacon of light for the rest of the country,” said Kent Sasaki, a structural engineer and one of six commissioners voting for the new energy code. “(It’s) the beginning of substantial improvement in how we produce energy and reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.”

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.

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