California’s Updated Energy Codes Provide New Homeowners with Many Advantages

By:Matt Brost

March 24, 2020

California New Home with Solar

Editor's Note: For updated information on the Title 24 energy code, please visit our latest blog on the subject.

The 2019 Title 24 energy code requiring homes to include solar was unanimously passed by the California Energy Commission and officially began January 1 of this year.  California is the first state in the nation to require solar in residential new construction. At nearly the same time the Golden State reached a huge milestone—1 million solar powered rooftops. These represent significant steps towards the state’s goal of becoming completely zero-carbon by 2045.

For years, California has worked towards an overall mission to produce as much energy as it consumes. As an affordable option in clean energy, solar has become a highly supported resource, giving homeowners various benefits including the ITC federal solar tax credit*, that can be used to offset income taxes, and statewide rebates*. In addition, solar has been shown to increase resale values (according to a study from Zillow) as more buyers seek high-efficiency homes with low operating costs. This leads industry experts to expect the demand for residential solar to increase substantially within the next few years.

“The California Energy Commission (CEC) has made the state a leader in green building with its progressive policy on energy efficiency,” said Matt Brost, senior director of homebuilder sales with SunPower. “In 1978, it was the first state to approve strong energy efficiency regulations by requiring minimum efficiency standards that lead the country. Ten years ago, the CEC set an ambitious target of all new homes being net-zero energy by 2020, a goal that was accomplished when the 2019 Title 24 standards were unanimously approved.”

Prior to the 2020 solar requirement, 20-30% of new, single-family homes were already being constructed with a solar system in place. A large reason for this is because many home builders already saw benefits to building solar homes, many well ahead of the 2019 code requiring it. For example, long-term partner of SunPower, KB Home, built thousands of new homes with solar in partnership with SunPower, well before the new code required it.

“SunPower is the only manufacturer that has a complete, direct-to-builder solar program,” commented Brost. “While we are known for our durable, reliable and highly efficient products, we are doing so much more than just providing panels. We are designing, planning, engineering and doing a lot of logistical work like handling permitting and training installers. In fact, SunPower has a full-service program for builders that meets the stringent requirements of the Title 24 energy code and the customer’s buying these homes.

For an average working-class family, buying a home is a significant life-changing event. When considering a new home, there are so many factors to think about. New homebuyers often have a hand in making design decisions and customizing various aspects of their future home from the kitchen counters to fixtures, colors and flooring. Adding solar into the decision making is now commonplace.

“We typically find that once a family has experienced owning a solar powered home, they see the benefits first hand and become advocates of the technology, often saying they wouldn’t buy another home without solar,” continued Brost. “It’s usually within a few months that they see how solar lowers their utility costs and gives them more freedom to use their energy how they want.”

SunPower strives to make going solar easy for new homeowners. Visit our Solar for Builders page to see a list of SunPower communities and learn where you can buy your next home with solar.