Now that we are well into 2020, you have probably heard about California’s 2020 Solar Mandate, but as an informed homeowner or business owner, you may have questions about this new law and how it may affect you. 

As you are aware, California is (and has been) leading the charge in becoming heavily reliant on cleaner renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydropower. As of 2019, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) ranked California number one in a 10-state ranking based on the cumulative amount of solar panel system installations on homes and businesses, coming in at a whopping 7,688,518 million residential installations alone. For the last decade-plus, California has led the rest of the nation in pushing toward a state-wide reliance on renewable energy sources, which has now been enacted into law. 

What Is the 2020 California Solar Mandate?

The California solar mandate is the first of its kind. This new law went into effect on January 1, 2020, establishing a new building code that requires new homes being built to be equipped with a solar photovoltaic (PV) system as its main source of electricity. The residential solar panels should generate 100% of the home or multi-family structure’s electricity to reduce reliance on gas. Let’s breakdown the specifics to help answer the questions you may have about this mandate.

Why Did the California Solar Mandate Pass?

As California continues to grow at staggering rates, so does the state’s energy consumption. In an effort to push the Golden State toward a 50% reliance on renewable energy sources by 2030, the California Energy Commission enacted the mandate as an effective and beneficial pathway toward making this impressive goal a reality. Not only will reducing the state’s reliance on traditional energy sources derived from fossil fuels benefit the environment, but it will also:

  • Contribute to the state’s booming energy economy
  • Help reduce California’s carbon emissions
  • Increase employment and job security
  • Benefit energy consumers by saving them money

Does the Solar Mandate Only Apply to New Homes Built After 2020?

Because the law went into effect on January 1, 2020, any building permits filed on or after this date will be subject to the initiative. To be clear, for any building permits that were granted up to December 31, 2019, but are for dwellings being built in 2020, these do not fall within the solar mandate’s guidelines.

Which Types of Buildings Must Be Equipped with Solar Panels?

Currently, both single-family homes and multi-family dwellings of up to three stories will need to be equipped with a rooftop solar array if they are new builds. 

Which Solar System Components Will I Need for My Home?

West Coast Solar will work with you to find the best solar solution for your new home. As a full-service solar company, we specialize in everything from the design to the installation of your solar panels. In order for you to get the most out of your home solar panel system, and in accordance with the solar mandate, you will require these system components:

  • Solar panels installed on the roof (or property in some circumstances) that can harness the sun’s rays.
  • A solar inverter that converts solar energy into usable alternating current (AC) energy that can power your electric devices and appliances.
  • Mount racking to hold your solar panels securely in place.
  • If you wish to take advantage of solar energy storage incentives, you might also consider a home solar battery

Can I Still Use Other Energy Sources and Gas-Powered Devices?

The mandate was designed to be flexible for mixed-powered homes. The solar panels are meant to offset 100% of your home’s electricity usage, but the energy usage and solar panel system for each individual dwelling is determined according to an energy budget based on a property’s square footage. Homes can still use other types of energy, such as gas, for instance. That being said, the more electronic devices and appliances you have (when compared to those powered by gas), the more you will save in powering them with clean solar energy.

How Much Will a Solar Array Cost In Addition to My New Build?

Each and every build is different, which means that the cost for a solar panel system fluctuates according to numerous factors that may include:

  • Your home’s energy efficiency (Are you using other renewable energy sources?)
  • Your current monthly and annual kilowatt-hour energy usage
  • The type and size of your new home
  • Whether you are buying direct
  • And so much more 

While the California Energy Commission estimates the initial costs around $9,500 in up-front costs, it is essential that homeowners do their due diligence by talking directly with a trusted solar company, like West Coast Solar, to enjoy competitive rates, find additional savings, explore the best solar financing options, and get the best warranties. Contacting your Top Rated Local® solar company in Northern California can save your money and stress by working directly with a team committed to you and your family. Give us a call!

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Connect with Your Trusted Northern California Solar Company

With the outbreak of coronavirus, we at West Coast Solar realize that solar installations may be the furthest thing from your mind at the moment, and with good reason. Please know we extend our deepest sympathies for anyone who has been affected by this unprecedented pandemic. Our hearts go out to you and your families. 

As a leading solar company in California, we also feel it is our duty to keep our communities informed about all the happenings in solar and renewable energy so that they can stay up-to-date on solar technology as well as their solar options. We truly believe that moving towards cleaner energy is one way to improve the overall health and wellness of our local, state, national, and global communities, and the environment as a whole. If you would like to set up a consultation to learn more about a residential or commercial solar panel system, please reach out to our dedicated team. West Coast Solar is here for you now and always.