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"Raymer said homebuilders may be able to pass on the added costs to consumers in cooler parts of the state, where less solar will be needed", the Sun's Jeff Collins wrote.

Builders in California will be required to fit solar panels on most new homes from 2020 under new building standards adopted on Wednesday, a move that is the first in the United States and could provide a big boost to the solar industry. This new requirement will be implemented on 2020.

According to an engineer from the California Building Industry Association, the new solar requirements will add an expected cost of about $8,000 to $10,000 for new homes-though that upfront cost will certainly be earned back almost doubly through savings over time. 20% of new construction today has solar panels.

The commission also voted for more energy-efficient attics, windows, and insulation.

"Under se new standards, buildings will work better than ever, while contributing to a reliable (electric) network", said Commissioner Andrew McAllister in a statement. It still needs to be permitted by The California Building Standards Commission before the mandate can be officially executed, however, it is expected that they will agree to the notion.

"We can not let Californians be in homes that are essentially the residential equivalent of gas guzzlers", Commissioner David Hochschild said ahead of the vote.

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The requirement is part of California's push to get half the state's electricity from renewable sources by 2030. No industry groups spoke in opposition.

"With home prices having risen as much as they have, I think home buyers would find it a little distasteful to be forced to pay more for solar systems that they may not want or feel like they can't afford", said Brent Anderson, a spokesman for homebuilder Meritage Homes Corp.

Adding to the cost of new homes doesn't address the issue of affordable housing in California.

The company said California's decision will drive demand for solar products including Powerhouse solar shingle systems, which are made by Dow Chemical Co. and which RGSE has a licensing deal to sell.

The only exceptions to the bill are homes that are fully covered by shade or ones where installing solar panels would cause the owners to lose money. Community-shared solar generation equipment will also be an option.

"It's a cost effective measure that is going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support growth in renewable clean energy".


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