While the step is significant, California has been preparing for the transition to solar energy for years, according to a spokeswoman for the state energy commission. The combination of rooftop solar and the option to add energy storage systems as an efficiency compliance credit provides builders with an attractive, cost-effective option to fully electrify homes.
Luminalt solar installers Pam Quan, left, and Walter Morales, right, install solar panels on the roof of a home on May 9, 2018 in San Francisco.
The CEC approved the requirement, which still need to backing from the state's Building Standards Commission.
A strategic plan drafted by the California Public Utilities Commission in 2008 called for all new construction by 2020 to have net-zero energy needs - that is, to produce enough electricity on their own to avoid having to buy it from the power grid.
"This is an undeniably historic decision for the state and the U.S. California has always been our nation's biggest solar champion, and its mass adoption of solar has generated huge economic and environmental benefits, including bringing tens of billions of dollars of investment into the state". But Republican legislative leaders said Californians can't afford to pay any more for housing in the state's already extremely expensive market.
'That's just going to drive the cost up and make California, once again, not affordable to live, ' Assemblyman Brian Dahle, the chamber's GOP leader, said Tuesday.
The regulations include exceptions when solar panels aren't feasible - such as on a home shrouded in shade - or cost effective.
"Battery storage technology will allow the homeowner to capture the cheaper electricity. the middle of the day", Raymer said.
Already, the news has been a boon for solar developers such as Sunrun, Vivint Solar and First Solar. The state updates its building codes, including energy efficiency standards, every three years.
"You can have a third party come in and install and maintain those solar panels", he says, "so they end up paying for themselves over time".