Effective January 1, California will become the first state in the US requiring that new homes must be equipped with solar panels. In recent years, thousands of homes have been destroyed or damaged by wildfires or other such disasters. The solar panels will increase the cost of a new home by $9,500, according to the California Energy Commission.

However, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law stating that those affected by the recent wildfires will not be required to install solar panels as part of their rebuild. This exemption will end, however, in 2023. This bill is mainly targeted at Paradise, a town of 26.000 people, most of whom lost their homes due to wildfires in the last year alone.

They faced opposition by some Democratic members of the California State Senate. Their view is that the bill is too broad, thus undermining the efforts of the state to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels. 

Gov. Newsom was stated to support rebuilding the homes lost or damaged by the wildfires as soon as possible. However, he is quoted as urging California homeowners to “strongly consider incorporating solar.” He then went on to say that solar panel electricity will only increase the market value of homes as well to help prevent power outages.

Solar energy is not only better for the environment as it helps reduce climate change, but it can also lower monthly energy costs. It has been estimated that depending on the size of the solar panel, energy costs can be reduced between $400 and $2,000 a month. This means that those homeowners in California who switch to solar energy will not only increase the value of their home but significantly lower their utility costs.