A number of California’s builders already place solar panels on all or most of their homes. However, as the statewide solar power requirement for newly-built homes draws closer to taking effect on January 1st, 2020, other builders and developers are trying to figure out how to comply with the new rule while keeping homes affordable for their customers.

According to the California Energy Commission, solar panels will save homeowners an average of $19,000 over the course of 30 years. However, it will also add about $8,400 to the cost of a new home. And according to an NAHB study, every $1,000 increase in the cost of a home prices out 52,903 households on average.

For some, salvation may lie in the mandate’s allowance for “community-shared solar options,” which could translate to off-site solar farms that would send the energy to the homes via transmission lines. This option would require a bit more planning — as developers would have to buy land for the farms and find a way to distribute it — but could save both sides a small fortune.

… For some cities in California, the solar mandate will be nothing new. In the last three years, 16 local governments have approved energy standards for newly constructed homes in their communities, including the cities of Santa Monica, Del Mar and Fremont.

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