Does New Construction in California Require Solar?

California leads the nation in solar energy, consistently topping the Solar Energy Industries Association’s ranking of the best states to install solar panels. This success is fueled by abundant sunshine and forward-thinking state policies like the California Solar Initiative and ambitious renewable energy goals. The state’s solar future shines even brighter with the introduction of the California solar mandate. This ground-breaking regulation requires all new home constructions power your home with a solar energy system. In this article, we’ll dive into the specifics of the California solar mandate and look at the costs and savings for California homeowners.

What is the California Solar Mandate?

The California Solar Mandate went into effect on January 1, 2020. It mandates solar photovoltaic (PV) systems be installed on all new homes, setting a precedent in the fight against climate change and movement towards clean energy. It applies to single-family and multi-family homes up to three stories tall and supports California’s goal to source 50% of its electricity from renewables by 2030.

To comply, the installed solar systems must produce electricity that covers the building’s yearly energy needs. Builders, basing their requirements on the property size and climate zone, must ensure every new home contributes to California’s renewable energy future. However, flexibility is built into the mandate. Builders can opt for smaller solar solutions by adding battery storage like the Tesla Powerwall or Enphase IQ Battery 5P, potentially reducing system size by 25%.

The Cost and Savings from the California Solar Mandate

The mandate requires solar installations to meet the home’s annual energy needs, taking into account location and size. Notably, adding a battery storage system can significantly decrease the amount of energy required by up to 40%.

A California Energy Commission (CEC) study on the mandate’s cost-effectiveness shows that adding a solar system increases a new single-family home’s price by about $8,400, translating to an additional $40 in monthly mortgage payments. However, homeowners can save roughly $80 monthly on electricity bills, netting a monthly saving of $40 or $500 annually. Over the 25 years of a system’s warranty, these savings accumulate, easing the power grid’s burden. With rising electricity prices and falling solar costs, these savings are likely to increase.

The Benefits of Switching to Solar Power

Transitioning to solar in California offers both environmental and financial benefits. Solar power significantly cuts fossil fuels from traditional electricity generation and is a step towards energy independence for homeowners. They can generate electricity, reduce grid reliance and protect themselves against market fluctuations and utility rate increases.

Advancements in the solar industry have improved efficiency and made it more affordable to go solar, leading to faster investment returns through significant electricity bill savings. This is important in California, where electric rates are among the nation’s highest. Solar power systems are a buffer against these high rates, offering substantial long-term financial relief to homeowners.

The state’s solar mandate further enhances solar energy’s appeal in California, requiring new homes to include solar power systems. Challenges like solar power intermittency and the need for battery storage systems to ensure consistent power supply exist. However, the advantages of solar energy in California, including saving money, increased property value, and a sustainable future contribution, outweigh these.

The Important Role of Home Battery Storage Systems

With high electricity costs in California, shifting to solar can lead to big savings. Pairing solar panels with home battery storage systems can be a game-changer with power outages happening more often and public safety power shutoffs by PG&E. While solar panels alone won’t power your home during an outage, a battery storage system guarantees continuous power supply and peace of mind.

Solar panels generate electricity during the day where it’s stored in home batteries to use at night or cloudy day use, guaranteeing a steady power supply. This setup is particularly beneficial in the Golden State, where electricity rates vary based on time-of-use. By drawing power from batteries during peak hours, homeowners can avoid high rates and save even more money.

Moreover, battery storage systems offer resilience against power outages, allowing homeowners to maintain power during blackouts by powering essential devices and appliances. This level of energy security and independence is invaluable, especially in areas prone to natural disasters or utility shutoffs.

Solar Incentives to Maximize Your Savings

Homeowners can tap into various incentives to make the transition to solar energy not only more affordable, but eco-friendly. Among these incentives, the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) stands out as a significant benefit. By investing in a solar photovoltaic (PV) system within a tax year, you qualify for this credit and it can be applied to your federal income taxes. The ITC is calculated based on a percentage of your system’s total cost, offering substantial savings.

In 2021, the federal solar tax credit provided a 26% deduction for systems installed from 2020 to 2022. The ITC was expanded to offer a 30% tax credit for systems installed from 2022 to 2032, making solar installations more accessible and affordable for homeowners.

Moreover, many state and local incentives can further reduce costs and enhance the appeal of solar power as an investment. It’s important to look into all available incentives or consult with a licensed solar company, like Solar Technologies, to fully maximize your savings.

Financing Your Solar Panel Installation

There are multiple ways to finance your solar panels, each based on your budget and long-term energy goals. For those ready to switch to solar, the best option will align with your budget, lifestyle, and long-term savings goals.


One approach is to purchase your solar panel system out-of-pocket. This gives homeowners the most substantial long-term savings and is an investment that pays dividends in energy independence and reduced costs over time.


Additionally, solar loans are a flexible solution that distributes the cost of your solar system over several years. This option makes solar energy accessible without the immediate financial strain, so you can enjoy the benefits of solar power while managing payments over time.


For those looking for a less burdensome entry into clean energy, solar leases or power purchase agreements (PPAs) offer another route. These options mean you’ll make ongoing payments to a provider that owns and takes care of your solar panels. While this may lower your upfront costs, you should also weigh the long-term benefits and savings compared to owning your system.


Buying a new home in California is a chance to join the green movement and enjoy financial savings in the process. With benefits that go beyond cost savings to include increased property value and contributing to a sustainable future, it’s a win-win for you and the environment.

If you’re ready to change the way you power your home and start saving more with solar and battery backup, contact us today for a free customized quote.

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