Since 1978, the California Energy Commission (CEC) has enforced T24 standards. The 2016-2019 code cycle required all new homes to be highly energy-efficient and be “solar ready”. These initial standards required builders to make a rooftop area available for solar and include a space for a circuit breaker to connect any future solar inverter. In the 2019 code, which takes effect in 2020, California now goes further.
To help achieve California’s ambitious climate goals, the state has just become the first in the nation to require all new homes to include solar panels starting in 2020. With the new Title 24 changes, builders are now required to include a minimum solar PV system to offset the expected electrical load of the home.
While a part me rejoices at this advancement, I am also wary of mandates, that is not usually how I like things to be done. However, there are many building code issues that we all live with whenever we choose to build a new home, either as homeowner or builder. Relative to some other requirements, mandatory solar seems completely reasonable. California leads the way again – hopefully Washington and Oregon will soon follow this progress. I would completely support such a mandate, with clear exceptions if people are unfortunate enough to be building a home in the shade.
Andy Cochrane, Sept 16, 2019