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Understanding California’s Solar Mandate

multi-level dwelling with solar panels

How Will This Mandate Affect San Jose Homeowners?

In 2018, the California Energy Commission unanimously passed a mandate requiring all new, single-family homes and multi-family dwellings up to three stories to install solar panels. The solar PV systems must adequately support the homeandrsquo;s annual energy needs. This mandate is part of the state's building codes and took effect on January 1, 2020, making it the first of its kind in the United States.

The mandate takes advantage of the state's abundance of sunshine and its progressive stance towards renewable energy sources; it is estimated that this mandate will significantly reduce residential electricity bills across the state. Additionally, this move helps reduce California's overall carbon footprint and contributes to the stateandrsquo;s goal of becoming 100% reliant on renewable energy sources by 2045.

Determining the Size of a Solar PV System

As mentioned above, the solar panel system on a new residence must be sized to support 100% of the home's annual energy usage. But how can this be determined on new home builds when no one has lived in the house yet? This can be difficult to assess. Therefore, new home builders must estimate the home's projected energy usage. These estimates are determined based on the size of the house (square footage) and the climate zone in which it is located.

The sizing of a PV system for a new home can be quite flexible when the complete solar set up for the property is considered. Incorporating battery storage, such as the Tesla Powerwall, can reduce the size requirement of a solar panel system by 25%, meaning you will need fewer solar panels installed to reach your desired output. Additionally, combining battery storage with energy efficiency measures and other demand-responsive initiatives can result in an even greater decrease in required solar panel system size, sometimes up to 40%.

The various options available to new home builders when achieving compliance with California's solar mandate all contribute to a much more efficient and cost-effective home setup. All this allows homeowners to reap the benefits of clean energy without spending excessively on installation.

Other Solar Incentives Available in California

While California's solar mandate only affects those planning to build new homes, current homeowners can also take advantage of lucrative solar incentives offered by the state. In particular, California homeowners are eligible to participate in the California State Net Energy Metering (NEM) Program. This program enables homeowners to set up grid-tied solar systems at their homes. By participating in the NEM Program, homeowners can send excess energy back to the utility grid and receive a credit on their energy bill.

For more information on solar incentives (federal and state) potentially available to California residents, review our blog post here.

Have Questions About Installing or Maintaining a Solar PV System? Call Valley.

As an experienced and trusted business with deep roots in our community, we are dedicated to helping local homeowners make the switch to solar energy. From solar array design consulting to installations, our residential solar specialists are experts at ensuring that your customized solar PV system meets the requirements associated with California's various solar mandates and initiatives, as well as local and state building codes. We are ready to help you leverage solar to maximize your energy savings.

We offer a complete range of solar services to residents in San Jose, including:

  • Solar PV system installations
  • Solar panel system maintenance and repair
  • Backup battery installations
  • Solar, attic fan installation

Call Valley today to learn more about installing a residential solar PV system. We are standing by to answer any questions you have.