California Homes Are Required to Include Solar Under New Title 24 Guidelines
In early May, the California Energy Commission (CEC) announced that – beginning in 2020 – virtually all new homes in the state would be required to integrate solar photovoltaic systems. The requirement is included in the latest updates to the state’s requirements for Title 24 compliance.
In this issue, we’ll talk more about how this affects California homeowners.
What is Title 24?
Formally known as the Energy Efficiency Standard for Residential and Nonresidential Buildings, Title 24 refers specifically to part 6 of the California Building Standards. Created in 1978 in an effort to reduce the level of energy consumption in California, Title 24 affects new and existing buildings.
Will the New Solar Requirements Affect All Buildings?
The new Title 24 requirements apply to buildings under three stories. If a structure is unsuitable for a rooftop array of solar panels, the homeowner will be required to provide access to community solar efficiency offerings.
How Effective Will the New Title 24 Solar Requirements Be in Reducing Energy Consumption?
According to California Energy Commission officials, residential homeowners can expect to save about $80 each month on their heating, cooling and lighting bills. Nonresidential building owners can expected to use about 30% less energy because of the new requirements.
“The buildings that Californians buy and live in will operate very efficiently while generating their own clean energy,” said Commissioner Andrew McAllister, who is the Energy Commission’s lead on energy efficiency. “They will cost less to operate, have healthy indoor air and provide a platform for ‘smart’ technologies that will propel the state even further down the road to a low emissions future.”
How Much Will it Cost Homeowners to Install the Solar Panels?
The associated costs of installing the solar panels is perhaps the most controversial issue surrounding the new Title 24 compliance requirements. While authoring the new standards, the CEC was required to illustrate the estimated costs savings in relation to a 30-year mortgage.
After using a formula to calculate a host of variables to each of California’s “climate zones,” the CEC estimated that the associated costs would be $8,000-$18,000, depending on which zone the structure is located.
“With this adoption, the California Energy Commission has struck a fair balance between reducing greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously limiting increased construction costs,” said California Building Industry Association CEO and President Dan Dunmoyer.
The method of the solar system deployment to the new homes will dictate the financing of the project for individual homeowners. Leasing options are also available, and involve the homebuilder collaborating with a solar firm to own and maintain the system for up to 30 years.
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