The news has been swirling for months but the day is finally here. Effective January 1, 2020 all new residential home builds must live up to the standard of Zero Net Energy. This initiative is part of California’s ongoing commitment to transition away from centralized power. The new plan aims at having 50% of California’s electricity come from clean energy sources by 2030 (NYT). It’s an ambitious goal and requiring new home construction to include solar energy is a big part of making it happen.
As the calendar year moves to 2020, builders are scrambling to meet the mandate. Sales of solar equipment is expected to increase by 14% by 2023 due to the additional requirement (GTM). Even though Solar is not a new technology, many California builders have not been prioritizing it, or have been including it as an “add on” to their builds.
At Clarum Homes, we’ve been believers in Solar technology for over 15 years. In fact, solar has been a standard in our builds since we installed our first one in 1999, leading to our first Zero Energy home in 2000. There are good reasons we made the switch all those years ago. The benefits of solar energy aren’t just good for the environment, they’re also great for your home!
Perhaps the greatest benefit solar provides a home build is in savings. While it’s true that a Zero Net construction can add to the up-front cost of the build, the long term returns more than make up for it. A Solar electric power system can generate 75-100% of a home’s power! As time goes on and the price of electricity rises, these savings continue to increase. When combined with a secure thermal envelope this energy efficient system doesn’t just reduce reliance on utilities, help conserve water, and foster a healthy home environment, but can even create an annual return of 7% on your high-performance home.
What if your home could turn a profit? One of the benefits of using solar energy is the ability to take advantage of Net Metering which can save home owners hundreds of dollars per year on utility bills. With Net Metering credits are offered to homeowners who generate excess electricity with their solar panel system. That means you get paid for all the excess energy you aren’t using.
Another long-term advantage to solar is the increase in property value. On average a solar system improves property value by almost 4%. Solar equipped homes command an average of $14,000 more than non-solar homes (Lawrence Berkeley National Library). Between the energy savings and the increased resale value, when you sell your house, you will make back some if not all of the original cost for the solar system at closing.
We’re excited to see what this increased demand for solar will do for the future of solar innovation. Now that solar panels are a standard for new home builds in California, we’re sure to see a heightened focus on innovation across the industry. As well as these systems operate now we’re sure to see even more value being added as the technology is advanced.
Besides our own comfort, the growing usage of solar will help with many of the indirect issues that affect home owners in California. Solar could lower the risk of wildfire damage as well as providing energy to people stuck during extended power outages. All of this on top of moving away from dependence on traditional electricity (Slate).
For fifteen years we at Clarum have been champions of solar energy and we will continue to leverage that experience with every home build we take on. Are you ready to get started on your energy efficient home build?
Want to learn more about how Clarum can help you build the sustainable home of your dreams? Give us a call at 650.322.7069