California Energy Codes Help New Homeowners

California Energy Codes Help New Homeowners

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 credit1, that can be used to offset income taxes, and statewide rebates2. 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 Homebuilders page to see a list of SunPower communities and learn how where you can buy your next home with solar.


1 Tax credits are subject to change. Only homeowners who purchase solar may qualify for the ITC, and not all homeowners will qualify. SunPower does not warrant, guarantee or otherwise advise its partners or customers about specific tax outcomes. Consult your tax advisor regarding the solar tax credit and how it applies to your specific circumstances. Please visit the website for detailed solar policy information.

2 State, local, and utility incentives vary by location and are subject to change. You may visit the website for detailed solar policy information for your location. Your SunPower dealer can also help you to determine the incentives that are available to you.

3 “Essential Appliances” are determined by the homeowner before installation and typically include lights, select appliances and outlets for devices. The battery storage system should not be relied upon as a power source for critical medical devices. The battery storage system’s ability to provide electricity to your home will vary depending on a number of factors, including, but not limited to: the amount of energy stored in the battery, the amount of wattage used by the appliances and electronics connected to the battery storage system, the age of the battery, the battery’s ability to recharge during daylight hours due to weather, the frequency and duration of battery usage, and other factors. Battery life will decrease with time and use.

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