Getty Images Workers install solar panels on a residential home in Santa Monica, Calif. A requirement for new homes built in California starting in 2020 to include solar rooftop panels is now formally part of the state’s building code. It follows approval Tuesday by the California Building Standards Commission of a plan endorsed in May by a state energy panel. The action by the state building standards commission came in a unanimous 8-0 vote and makes California the first state in the nation to mandate solar-energy installations on most single-family homes as well as multi-family residential buildings up to three stories, including condos and apartment complexes. However, the solar rule has raised concerns the cost to build new homes will soar and further erode home affordability statewide. The solar requirement is expected to add on average about $9,500 to the cost of new houses but is projected to be offset by about $19,000 in energy savings over a 30-year period, according to the California Energy Commission. Back in May, the energy policy and planning agency approved the requirement for solar panels for most new California homes built starting in 2020. "Today’s unanimous vote was the culmination of more than […]

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