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State Sen. Scott Wiener pushed for the solar requirement while on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and also introduced a bill a year ago that would have required all new commercial and residential buildings to have solar panels.

California has set a goal of all residential buildings being 'zero net energy, ' meaning they produce as much energy as they consume.

While California will become the first state with a solar requirement, several of its cities have already enacted similar laws.

"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".

'You can bet every other of the 49 states will be watching closely to see what happens, ' he said.

The CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Assocation described the new policy as historic and commended California for its bold leadership in moving toward mass adoption of this form of renewable energy technology which will yield significant benefits both economically and for the environment. They still need backing from the state's Building Standards Commission. Buildings ill-suited for solar, such as ones completely shaded by trees, are exempt, and homes may comply with the new code by tapping into a community solar energy system instead of having their own solar panels installed.

A report commissioned by the state found that the requirement will have an average upfront cost of $9,365.

About SEIA®: Celebrating its 44 anniversary in 2018, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the USA solar energy industry, which now employs more than 260,000 Americans.

Delforge says that the increase in construction costs due to the solar panel mandate is "only half the equation", and the monthly savings in utility bills for residents will outweigh the burden down the line. "By demonstrating a very expensive way to reduce greenhouse gases, I think this could very likely be used in other states and countries as an argument against moving towards renewable energy". About 20 percent of California's new homes are built with solar arrays and the state has held about a third of the nation's total jobs in solar since 2013, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Based on a 30-year mortgage, the commission estimates the standards will add about $40 to an average monthly payment, but save consumers $80 on monthly heating, cooling and lighting bills.

California has positioned itself as the nationwide leader on clean energy, pushing for more electric vehicles on the roads and fewer emissions from residential and commercial buildings.


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