When we hear the word “mandate,” we may think of a requirement that is fixed, unyielding, or without exceptions. However, these terms do not accurately describe the solar requirements for new homes in California.
In fact, when the California Energy Commission (CEC) adopted the 2019 Title 24 standards, it contained significant code allowances to make solar compliance easier. In many cases, contractors who apply solar offsets, community solar, and other energy efficiency measures to their project, can significantly reduce the cost of installing solar on new homes in California We’ll go over a few of those today.
If a new home is slated to be built in an area shaded by mountains or existing tree cover, the PV system size can be reduced, or eliminated, based on CEC guidelines.
By adding a minimum 7.5kWh battery, the builder can reduce the PV system size by 25%, which is helpful on homes with smaller rooflines. In addition, adding storage can dramatically improve investment returns through TOU arbitrage and self-utilization credits (depending on local utility rules).
Add Community Shared Solar
By installing a PV system dedicated to a housing development, builders have a way to comply with the solar requirements without being required to install solar panels on each home’s roof.
These programs are allowed by the CEC and can dramatically reduce the cost of compliance—for example, a multifamily building that includes a covered parking area, shaded by solar panels. In this case, the solar panels feed electricity into the grid and the utility applies energy credits to the designated residences. This arrangement can reduce costs by up to 40%, compared to individual rooftop systems.
Offer Third-Party Financing
The word “mandate” also implies that the solar will increase the upfront cost of the home. In fact, many builders are already including third-party financing on nearly every new home they build, in advance of the new code. These zero-down financing options allow builders and homebuyers to get solar installed without any upfront costs, although the long-term investment return is significantly lower than on a system bought for cash.
BayWa r.e. Solar Systems supports builders and contractors in the new solar home market in CA with our Installer Network, our referral program, and exceptional pricing for new construction projects. Our goal is to be a part of the state’s solar solution and provide great products, services, and industry expertise to installation professionals in California.
Director of Homebuilder Services