California Bill Could Mandate Solar System Installations on New Buildings
Earlier last month, a California bill proposed to mandate the installation of solar power on all new construction projects in the state. Currently, California’s Title 24 Energy Standards for buildings mandates all new residential homes and commercial buildings under 10 stories to have a “solar ready” roof. This means 15% of the roof’s area is free of shade, obstructions from sunlight, and ready for a future solar system installation. The installation of either solar hot water or solar photovoltaic panels fulfills the requirements.
SB 71 would take the existing Title 24 law further, shifting focus from “solar ready” to “solar installed.” The inspiration came from an existing San Francisco ordinance calling for solar energy to be installed on all buildings after January 1st of this year. Although this type of legislation can also be seen in a few smaller cities in the state, this is the first proposal to expand solar necessity statewide. With the passing of this bill, California would be the first state in the nation with laws requiring renewable energy installations. This would set a foundation for further regulations to make the state even greener than before.
William Chen, Adroit Energy‘s Chief Operations Officer, says the bill could be a milestone in the growing renewable energy trend in the country. “I think it’s a step in the right direction. It’s going to make a huge impact on reducing carbon emissions for buildings. The technologies are tried and true and we need to think about fully adopting it for our buildings.”
The high average cost of construction in California compared to other states could create some backlash for the bill. Senator Scott Wiener, who introduced the bill, told the San Francisco Chronicle, “It either pays for itself over time or you don’t even have to own the panels. You can have a third party come in and own and maintain the panels.” There are federal incentives and California state rebates available to aid in buying solar systems. Rebates for photovoltaic solar systems have been exhausted, while the rebates for solar hot water systems doubled last year for multi-family homes.
“California is already a national leader when it comes to renewable energy legislation,” says Luciana Da Silva, Adroit’s Director of Marketing and Corporate Development.
Da Silva explains with the shift towards renewable energy worldwide, this new law would assist California in reaching its current goal to cut carbon emissions by 40% of 1990 levels by 2030.
“This bill would also help California reach our other progressive climate goals such as the Paris Agreement’s COP-21, AB-32, and SB 32. A number of California cities are already pledging to run on 100% renewable energy within the next couple decades. This legislation would take California to a whole new level.”
It could still be some time before we see SB-71 potentially placed into law. The bill is in the early stages and the details are still being written. With the simple introduction of this bill, California acts as a model for other states to adopt similar practices.
We know you’re excited about this bill. Don’t worry, we will keep you updated on this legislation as it develops.