Dear Monica: I have often wondered why states like California, with limited rainfall and long periods of sunshine, haven’t required more use of solar power. The infrastructure for solar power is simpler than building and maintaining the power grid we currently have. Do you see a trend towards use of solar power growing? Eric G.
Dear Eric: The mandatory use of solar power in housing got a huge boost recently from the California Building Standards Commission who voted unanimously to require new single family and multi-family buildings up to three stories high to have solar panels beginning in 2020. This should substantially help the state of California reach its goal of a carbon-neutral energy status within 30 years.
While solar installation will add to the initial cost of building a new residence, the homeowner will enjoy significant savings in energy costs over their span of ownership. A higher demand for solar should spur production and potentially lower material costs. California is the first state to require solar but it is expected that more states will follow their lead.