As California formally adopts rules requiring all new homes to have solar power starting in 2020, Environment America introduced a new report showing that if the country adopted similar requirements, the US could triple the amount of solar it has installed already. In just six years, the report found, the US could install as much solar on new homes as it has installed across the country.
If the country adopted such a standard 203 gigawatts (GWs) of residential solar would be installed by 2045, the report, “Solar Homes, The Next Step for Clean Energy,” by Environment America and the Frontier Group found. That’s 3.5 times the entire 58 GWs of solar power that’s now installed across the country. At the same time the new residential solar installations would cut US carbon dioxide emissions by 9 percent.
“Every home and structure built without solar is a missed opportunity,” said Bret Fanshaw, Go Solar campaign director with Environment America Research & Policy Center. “Generating renewable energy from our rooftops helps homeowners and their communities reduce pollution and live healthier lives.”
There’s also the potential for energy savings. When the California Energy Commission (CEC) announced its new rules requiring solar power and energy efficiency measures on new homes, it found the new rules would save homeowners $19,000 over a 30-year mortgage. The California Building Standards Commission approved the new energy rules this week.
“We can have solar-powered communities right now and for years to come with smart policy choices,” said Fanshaw. “And the most efficient time to install solar panels is when workers are already on the roof.”
The report also follows the recent National Climate Assessment introduced by the Trump Administration over Thanksgiving weekend. That report found that climate change is already having serious impacts on people in the US and that the majority of it is being cause by humans.
"The new National Climate Assessment makes it clear that we need to stop burning fossil fuels as soon as possible, and solar energy is key to that transition,” said Abi Bradford, policy analyst and report co-author with Frontier Group. “Installing solar panels on all new homes could add more solar energy capacity than the entire country currently has installed—including utility-scale installations—in just six years from 2020 to 2026.”
If such a policy was enacted across the US, Environment America said that the nation’s fastest-growing solar markets would add the most rooftop solar power, including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas. It provides a state-by-by state analysis of carbon emission reductions each state would achieve as well.
The fastest-growing states would add the most solar energy if the policy were adopted, with Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and Arizona ranked at the top. The report also provides state-by-state estimates for the potential reductions in carbon emissions.Tweet