Solar energy has experienced a sudden growth in recent years. What was once reserved for companies and government facilities has now become a valid alternative for homeowners all over the world. However, while solar energy is still an option, there is a big push for it to become the norm. In fact, some environmental organizations have been asking for solar mandates in a bid to reduce pollution.
But that begs the question — what solar mandates are there, and do they have any benefits for homeowners? Let’s find out!
What is a Solar Mandate?
Generally speaking, a solar mandate is a part of a state’s building codes and aims to increase the number of solar-powered homes. In simple terms, it means that specific buildings must be able to generate their own electricity using solar panels. While that usually involves new buildings, some solar mandates could also apply to existing structures that meet certain criteria.
Which States Have a Solar Mandate?
As of 2018, California is the first and only state that enforces a solar mandate. The mandate, which took effect on January 1, 2020, was proposed by the California Energy Commission and is now a part of the state’s building codes. According to it, all multi-family homes and new single-family dwellings up to three stories high must install solar panels.
However, not every solar system actually meets the criteria for the solar mandate. More specifically, a suitable solar system must have the capacity to cover all of the household’s energy requirements on an annual basis. But since new properties haven’t been inhabited before, estimates are based on the square footage of the solar installation and the zone’s climate.
Yet, if a household will also include a solar battery backup system, such as the LG Chem RESU, Tesla Powerwall, or Enphase Enpower, builders can adjust the size requirement by up to 25%. Additionally, if the building incorporates other demand-response measures and energy-efficiency initiatives, constructors are able to further reduce the size of the solar system by 40%.
Solar Mandate Updates
In 2021, the CEC approved a change to the state’s building codes. Now, all new commercial buildings also need to comply with the solar mandate. In other words, they have to install solar panels and battery storage. However, this update will take effect on January 1, 2023, and targets high-rise residential projects, offices, medical offices, health clinics, hotels, grocery stores, schools, civic spaces, restaurants, and retailers. If implemented correctly, the new solar mandate will increase demand for battery and rooftop solar installations all across the state.
The Benefits of Solar Mandates
At first glance, you might think that solar mandates are only beneficial for installers. However, this legislation aims to evolve the solar industry and provide a better market for businesses and homeowners alike. Here are a few benefits of California’s solar mandate:
California is one of the most densely populated states in the country. As a result, the solar mandate will cause the number of solar installations to reach unprecedented levels. But what’s so special about that?
Simply put, when any technology becomes standard, people will always do their best to implement innovative solutions to existing problems in the field. The same applies to solar energy. So, you should expect to see new technological improvements in the coming years.
Eco-Friendliness and Wide Scale Adoption
There’s no doubt that renewable energy is the future. However, people are still finding it hard to switch to solar energy. Fortunately, solar mandates can push people to give solar systems a shot. And since there are many governmental incentives, such as tax rebates, embracing solar is easier and more beneficial than ever. Therefore, newer buildings won’t do as much damage to the environment as they used to until now.
As solar energy becomes the norm, it’s obvious that cost reductions will extend beyond homes that fall under the mandate. Actually, it’s expected that solar mandates will make solar energy more affordable and attractive on a larger scale. It will also promote competition, meaning that installers will come up with better offers and discounts.
Solar Mandates — The Future of Solar Energy?
Solar mandates are a great way to push people toward a renewable and sustainable future. With more and more states planning to implement solar mandates, it’s clear that this method is effective and reliable and can benefit both residential and commercial owners. So, if you are still on the fence about solar, maybe it’s time to consider giving it a shot.
If you are looking to discover more about solar energy, make sure to check out Atlantic Key Energy and get in touch with our experts. We are always here to help anyone who is interested in giving solar energy a try!