California poised to pass nation’s first statewide solar panel mandate

Reports indicate a final vote by the California Energy Commission is the final hurdle to implementing a mandate that most new residential constructions in the state contain solar panels by 2020.

That vote is set for May 9 and is expected to result in passage of the measure. It would make California the first state in the nation with such a requirement.

Bob Raymer of the California Building Industry Association said less than 20 percent of single-family residences currently implement solar technology, describing the current push as “a quantum leap in energy standards.”

Many advocates see the effort as a step in the state’s overall direction to reduce net energy consumption to zero. Others, however, think the mandate is insufficient.

California Solar and Storage Association’s Kelly Knutsen said the group is “happy they’re making good progress” but “wish they would go further.”

If successful, the state policy would apply to homes and residential buildings three stories tall or less. Exceptions will be provided as needed when applying panels would not be feasible.

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