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The California Solar Mandate and You

Solar Construction

It’s an interesting time to live in California. Granted, the state is still reeling from difficulties with the coronavirus, but current reports of vaccines around the corner have many people cautiously optimistic. Outside of pandemic news, there is good news coming for those concerned about climate change, green energy and lowering their carbon footprint. After the first full year of the California solar mandate, we should start seeing its positive effect on the utility grid.

Back in 2018, California introduced a new building code. The code requires a photovoltaic system be added as an electricity source to a new construction home, whether it be a single or multiple family home, as long as the home is under three stories high. The mandate became active January 1, 2020. With a few exceptions, this mandate means that every new California home built from here on out will have a solar power system installed. Although there is some flexibility in the mandate – options for community solar plants, installing solar power battery storage units, etc. – the code will allow California homes to not only supply power for their owners, but add any unused power to the power grid for others to use.

The projected costs of adding solar systems to new-build homes is also a positive. The California Clean Energy Commission predicts an average increase to mortgages of only $40 per month. Conversely, they predict single-family homeowners will save an average of $80 per month in utilities, or about $500 in annual savings!

How Current Events Affect Construction

Unfortunately, the aforementioned coronavirus pandemic caused a dramatic decline in homes being built. Many counties around Sacramento report seeing less than half of their average building permit applications. Sacramento, on the other hand, continues to grow with construction, and Bay Area residents have noticed. Since they’ve been directed to stay at home by their companies anyway, some people no longer feel shackled to living in the Bay Area. Many have taken up residence in Sacramento homes with solar systems already in place, supporting their telecommute to work.

Some projections indicate a decline in home prices throughout 2021. But on the same note, new homes show an average price that competes with older houses of the same size, encouraging new home purchases – homes that have solar systems already installed, thanks to the California mandate.

2020 was slated to be the first year of more renewable energy as California led the way with this first-of-its-kind mandate. Unfortunately, the setbacks of the same year have caused uncertainty for many. But there’s good news: the sun keeps shining. It might be worthwhile to see if a new home is a viable option for your circumstances. You could also explore a solar panel installation for your current home, to increase its value while home prices are low.

Solaron is happy to gather all that information for you with a free solar analysis. We know of programs that help with financing, or assist with mortgage payments when you install a photovoltaic power system. Give us a call or fill out our online form to see how you too can benefit from solar panels, even if you don’t have a new home!

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