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California just became the first USA state to mandate solar panel installations on all new homes.

The commission estimates the regulations would add an average $10,500 in construction costs for a single family home but generate about $16,000 in energy savings.

The minimum amount of solar power required by the new standards wouldn't be enough to meet all the needs of most homes. The Energy Commission expects the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.4 million metric tons over three years.

The solar panel mandate is estimated to apply to a 2020 inventory of about 100,000 new single-family homes and 48,000 multi-family homes in California. The California Energy Commission hearing room was packed full on Wednesday as the commission voted unanimously in favor of the proposed rule. The mandate could require between 68 and 241 MW of annual distributed solar buildout, according to ClearView Energy Partners' research using 2017 data.

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The state updates its building codes, including energy efficiency standards, once every three years.

"We thank the Commissioners and their staff for working with the building industry during the past 18 months and adopting a set of cost-effective standards that ensures homebuyers will recoup their money over the life of the dwelling".

Solar panels on the rooftop of a home in Southern California.

She noted in an interview that deploying solar as part of the home building process will normalize the technology for tens of thousands of families, in a positive way.

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Some buildings will be eligible for exemptions from the requirement, including those shaded by trees or with roofs too small to accommodate a solar photovoltaic system.

Already, the news has been a boon for solar developers such as Sunrun, Vivint Solar and First Solar. Over the course of about 25 years - or the average solar panel lifespan - the green-energy products could save owners anywhere from $50,000 to $60,000. A National Association of Realtors survey for the fourth quarter of 2017 listed four California markets among the nation's five most expensive.

"I think there are indeed limited political resources that can be mustered against climate change", Borenstein said in a follow-up email. The leases typically provide homeowners an affordable way to add solar to their homes and cut electricity bills, in return for a long-term agreement with a solar provider.

Stuart Waldman, president of the Van Nuys business advocacy group, said the commission's decision om Wednesday gives housing developers and potential homeowners another reason to leave California as housing affordability is one of the major issues facing the state.

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