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Updated March 2024

Solar on new homes in California: All you need to know in 2024

Here is everything you need to know about the California solar mandate for new homes, which took effect in 2020, along with the latest trends and considerations in 2024.

What is the California solar mandate?

California’s solar mandate, part of the California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen), requires most new single-family homes and multifamily dwellings up to three stories tall to be built with solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. This mandate is crucial to the state’s goal to achieve 100% clean electricity by 2045.

Who does this affect?

Anyone building a new single-family home in California must comply, including home developers, roofers, and solar installers.

Are there exceptions?

There are exceptions to the mandate. Homes that do not have good sun exposure for solar panels can apply for an exemption. Alternatively, they can connect to a community solar grid or farm that serves multiple homes.

2024 solar trends

  • Energy storage: Solar panels paired with battery storage systems are becoming increasingly popular. Battery storage allows homeowners to save excess solar energy during the day and use it at night, reducing reliance on the grid.
  • Climate resilience: Solar panels can improve climate resilience by providing backup power during outages caused by extreme weather events. Climate resilience is becoming more important as California faces more wildfires and power shutoffs.

CALGreen regulations: What you must understand

As a solar installer, here is a breakdown of the key CALGreen regulations:

  • The basics: CALGreen mandates solar installations in most new residential buildings.
  • Exceptions: Understand the exceptions for homes with poor sun exposure.
  • Shared solar grids: Be familiar with shared solar options for homes that cannot accommodate rooftop solar panels.

Strategies for success in 2024

  • Keep updated: Stay current on the latest trends in solar technology, financing, and design.
  • Financial incentives: Educate clients about available incentives, tax credits, and rebates to make solar more affordable.
  • Community solar: Understand community solar models to offer solutions for all your clients.
  • Energy storage: Offer integrated solar and battery storage systems to meet the growing demand for energy independence. For example, Solargraf allows users to design their system and integrate battery storage.
  • Climate resilience: Highlight the benefits of solar for backup power and disaster preparedness.

Key statistics

  • California’s primary source of non-renewable electricity in 2022 was natural gas, accounting for 42% of all electricity used in the state. Imposing these new rules on home builders will likely cause that number to drop significantly due to the yearly increase in solar electricity generated.
  • Solar panels are estimated to save the average California customer $60,000-100,000 over 25 years.

Your Competitive Edge

By staying informed about the latest trends and regulations, you can be a valuable resource for homeowners looking to go solar in California. Solargraf can be a useful tool to design and propose solar systems, including those with battery storage.

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