SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Energy Commission (CEC) voted unanimously Wednesday to move forward solar and storage requirements for new commercial buildings and high-rise multifamily dwellings. The plan also includes incentives to help Californians add batteries to homes that already have solar panels and to eliminate natural gas from new buildings.
The energy plan complements solar requirements for new single-family homes and multifamily homes up to three stories, which took effect in 2020. The proposal will now head to California’s Building Standards Commission for review and potential inclusion in an overall revision of the building code in December. If adopted, California would be the first state to require solar and storage on new commercial and high-rise multifamily buildings.
This vote by the CEC to strengthen California’s commitment to rooftop solar comes as the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is considering drastic cuts to net metering, a program that compensates commercial and residential solar customers for the extra electricity that they send back to the grid.
Environment America Research & Policy Center Go Solar Campaign Director Bronte Payne issued the following statement:
“For some time now, California has been a national leader on rooftop solar. It’s done this through a commitment to smart policies and this plan from the CEC is one more example of that forward thinking. This approval helps move California a big step closer to reaching its clean energy goals. With that in mind, we’re excited to work with state leaders to put this energy code into action.
“That said, other state officials are placing California’s rooftop solar leadership at risk. At the same time the CEC is taking this positive step, the CPUC must keep a commitment to rooftop solar by maintaining a strong net metering program and rejecting the proposal put forward by the investor-owned utilities. The utility proposal to gut net metering would saddle new solar customers with discriminatory fees while slashing the compensation for the extra electricity they will put back into the grid. Rooftop solar is among the best and fastest ways to generate clean energy, and we should be doing everything we can to accelerate its growth.”