For many years now, solar has been a steadily growing source of energy in the United States. A clean and efficient method of producing energy, solar roofing is beneficial to both the environment and homeowners’ wallets. Last year, California changed the game when it released its new solar mandate legislation. Now the industry is developing faster than ever, and companies are coming together to make solar roofing a realistic possibility for everyday homeowners.
The solar mandate, passed in California in 2018, requires all new residential construction to include solar energy systems starting January 1st, 2020. This new legislation comes as part of the state’s carbon reduction efforts. California has set a goal to reach net zero energy costs by 2020 and have 50% of the state’s electricity come from non-carbon producing sources by 2030.
The new mandate has been met with concern from those who believe the increased cost of a home with solar integrations will discourage homeowners from building. Many fear that any increase in the cost or difficulty of building could exacerbate the housing crunch in California. However, this mandate is based on three years of research conducted by the California Energy Commission (CEC), who have found that solar energy is cost effective in all of the climate zones in California. The CEC expects homeowners to save an average of $40 per month with the new policies. This factors in the added $40 to homeowners in mortgage payments per month as well as the expected $80 saved in energy expenses.
Large solar roofing companies in California are coming together to prepare for 2020 and working with each other to help make the new requirements a reality. For example, Citadel Roofing & Solar and Solar Roof Dynamics have aligned to handle the influx of customers created by the mandate and ensure that the transition to solar goes smoothly. Solar Integrated Roofing Corporation has made an agreement with one of the most prominent roofing and solar companies in San Diego, also preparing to take on the growing demand for solar roofing as 2020 approaches and make sure the switch to solar roofing is successful. Companies banding together are providing the capacity to enable all new homes to operate on solar energy by 2020.
The mandate is advancing new developments in solar technology. With so many homeowners preparing to add it to their building projects, making solar roofing more affordable and efficient has become a top priority. The mandate also brings attention to alternative solar energy options, such as community solar, which offer a more cost-effective option to fulfill the new requirements. Community solar projects allow members to subscribe to local solar facilities and receive credit on their energy bills for a portion of the power produced. These subscriptions are particularly helpful for consumers who rent or whose homes are unable to host solar power due to building design. With community solar and other alternative options, even homeowners who cannot put solar panels on their roofs can fulfill the requirements of the mandate.
The new mandate also incentivizes the use of solar powered battery systems. These systems allow homeowners to save up energy generated during the sunny hours of the day and use it later at night, during times of peak energy demand. This saves homeowners money by eliminating their dependence on energy utilities during the most expensive times. It also helps customers move towards sole reliance on reusable energy. The greater the number of options for utilizing solar power, the more likely it is that customers will take advantage of solar for their energy usage.
California is taking great strides towards decreasing the state’s reliance on traditional energy and expanding the solar roofing industry even further. Solar power is no longer a suggestion for those looking to be more eco-conscious or lower their energy costs, but rather a requirement for those planning to build in California. If the mandate is successful, other states may follow California’s lead and draw up similar legislation. As demand for renewable energy increases and installation becomes more practical, the industry will expand even further. With new business collaborations, technology advancements, and increased opportunities for solar roofing, the California mandate has sparked powerful change in the solar roofing industry.