California has long been a leader among states that are serious about reducing environmental impact. One of the biggest moves California has made in recent months was amending the building codes that apply to newly constructed homes. Under the new codes, every building permit for a home or low-rise apartment building issued after January 1st, 2020 will include a requirement that these new homes be constructed with mandatory solar panels installed.
Earlier this year, we covered a story regarding California’s move to acquire 50% of its power from a noncarbon source by the year 2030. Solar panels just happen to fall under that category, so the state is already off to a good start in achieving the 50% sustainable power goal.
This move will also have a big financial impact on the state, especially for those businesses who deal in the manufacturing and installation of solar panels. For the consumers, it’s a cost-effective way to give back to the environment and get a sense of the freedom that comes from living without the dependence on major utility companies. It’s estimated that Californians will eliminate 1.4 metric tons of carbon pollution over the next 30 years as a result of the solar panel code, not to mention save an estimated $1.7billion in energy expenses.
Builders and the California Energy Commission are stressing that the savings won’t be immediate. In fact, the costs of newly built homes will most certainly go up. Most experts estimate a new house will cost an additional $8,000-$12,000 per home. With that in mind, it’s important to focus on the savings the solar panels will provide over the course of the home’s lifetime. In an estimate generated from the Energy Commission, new homeowners will likely see a $40 increase in their monthly mortgage payment to cover the cost of installing the panels, but their power bill will likely be reduced by as much as $80 per month when it comes to heating and cooling their homes.
Lowering monthly utility payments and reducing our impact on the environment sounds like a win-win. Hopefully, California sets the bar and more states follow suit in the coming years.