california solar law

The California Solar Law – How will this new law affect residential construction?

california solar law

The new California solar law will raise costs and add additional work for home builders.

New home construction in California is changing, are you ready for it? As you may have heard, the California Energy Commission (CEC) approved a new mandate in March of 2018 that will require new homes under three stories to have solar power. While a small number of homes will be allowed to run off natural gas, most new homes will require rooftop or community solar. If designing, permitting, and constructing a new home was not challenging and time consuming enough, home builders will soon need to make decisions on how to integrate solar systems come 2020.


What does the new California solar law mean for home builders?


Socioeconomic implications and personal feelings of this new law aside, the impact on home building business processes and operating costs could be great.


The New York Times reports that the new California solar law will add an average of $8,000 to $12,000 to the cost of every new single-family home. For a solar installation company, the cost to install an average 5 kW solar system depends greatly on the installation company’s internal efficacy and the equipment used. Installation labor, design & engineering, permitting, battery storage and additional solar products all can quickly increase the price of a solar system above $12,000. Home builders will not only have to deal with the additional upfront cost of installing the solar system (which will subsequently be passed to the homebuyer) but also the challenge of managing new solar installation business processes.


To put the management task into perspective, the US Department of Energy (DOE) conducted a study that showed the average residential solar installation lead time is 3 months and requires 7+ employees to manage the installation from point of sale to permission to operate (PTO). The study also showed the 7+ employees do not include the installation crew which increases the required average team size to 10+ workers. Managing all the moving parts of a solar installation might be un underestimated challenge for home builders.


There is also solar experience to consider. Home builders are going to need to leverage solar design, permitting, and installation knowledge and expertise. Solar installations are required to adhere to very specific code and design requirements can change from city to city. Moreover, the array positioning and design on a home can impact solar production and cost.


It is evident that integrating new solar business processes can add even more cost and complexity to an already lengthy, costly, and complex home construction process.


Where does Skyfire Solar Design come in to the picture?

Skyfire Solar Design is uniquely prepared to deal with the effects of the new California solar law. For years, Skyfire Solar Design has been involved with permitting and installing thousands of residential and commercial solar projects across 27 states. Leveraging solar design & engineering automation we developed, our designers can quickly and accurately produce construction documents that have a high rate of first-time permit approval. We have experience working with most solar equipment manufacturers on the market.


Our experienced team of solar practitioners are equipped to handle any task necessary. From creating the most cost-effective solar design optimized for permitting and construction, solar installation consulting from a NABCEP certified crew lead, getting the best pricing on equipment, we got you covered.

We have a large network of vetted solar installation crews, equipment distributors, and other solar companies throughout the US we work with that allow us fast scalability into any territory when needed.

We are a very knowledgeable partner that can help guide you through the solar installation process in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible in California or anywhere in the US.

It is time for you to start having a conversation about the future. Take a minute to check out our new residential solar submission form and other services we provide. Give us a call for a free consultation on how we can help you better prepare for The Golden State’s new solar mandate.