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    Here Comes the Sun: California Becomes First State to Require Solar Panels

    By Jennifer Tung

    The California Energy Commission recently voted unanimously to require solar panels on all new homes in California starting in 2020. The mandate applies to all new houses, condos, and apartment buildings up to three stories tall that do not meet certain exceptions (e.g., structures built in the shade). It also makes California the first state to require solar panels on all new homes.

    Under these new requirements, builders must either make individual homes available with solar panels, or build a shared solar-power system to serve a group of homes. Some industry members expect construction costs for these new solar-powered homes to increase on average by approximately $10,000. The Energy Commission, however, also estimates that solar panels will save homeowners almost $20,000 in reduced utility bills over a 30-year period.

    California already required that 15 percent of small and mid-sized buildings to be “solar ready.” This new mandate further cements California’s role not just as a leader in renewable energy, but as a key player at the forefront of cutting edge construction technology and trends.

    Jennifer Tung is an associate attorney at Hunt Ortmann, and focuses her practice on a broad array of matters, including breach of contract claims and construction defect litigation. Ms. Tung has represented a diverse client base including, owners, contractors, transportation companies, insurers, universities, and health care providers.  If you would like additional information about the subject matter of this bulletin, please contact Ms. Tung at