This story was originally published in Builder.

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“It’s officially official,” says Kelly Knutsen, director of technology advancement for the California Solar & Storage Association, referring to the California Building Standards Commission’s (CBSC) unanimous vote to confirm the solar panel mandate on new homes in California, starting in 2020.

With the newly established code, California is the first state in the country to adopt the clean energy requirement. Low-rise residential buildings, including single-family homes and multifamily dwellings of three stories or less, are required to use solar for new permits dating Jan. 1, 2020, or later.

The final regularity vote from the CBSC shows the California Energy Commission (CEC) followed the correct process in developing the new clean energy rule, first established in May. Every three years, through a stakeholder process, the standards are updated to reflect new energy efficiency measures.

“These highly energy efficient and solar-powered homes will save families money on their energy bills from the moment they walk through their front door,” adds Knutsen. “Home buyers will also have a solar plus storage option, allowing their home-grown clean energy to work for them day and night.”

Despite the added benefit to the environment, builders and homeowners will endure additional costs upfront. The Los Angeles Times reports “the provisions will add $10,000 to the cost of building a single-family home—about $8,400 from adding solar and about $1,500 for making homes more energy efficient.”

To ensure the regulation would be cost-effective for all parties involved, the CEC performed a detailed analysis and gathered public input from utilities, builders, and the solar and lighting industries. The CEC estimates the new requirement would add roughly $40 per month to the mortgage payment, but the savings on the homeowners’ energy bills is expected to be about $80 per month. As a result, homeowners would save $40 each month, or roughly $500 per year.

“We don’t support mandates on builders, but the approach that was taken by the Energy Commission was flexible and less costly,” says Dan Dunmoyer, president and CEO of the California Building Industry Association. “For that reason, we have been supportive about this rulemaking effort.”

Dunmoyer also mentioned that while adding solar panels to a new home’s roof is one way to comply with the regulation, builders can work with local utility providers to provide solar-generated energy to new homes.

“The difference in cost is profound,” says Dunmoyer. “If you look at putting a solar panel on a roof, it's between $8,500 and $12,000, but when you enter a business relationship with a local municipal utility, you could probably comply with this new regulation for about $1,200,” he says.

This story was originally published in Builder.