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CEC Advances Solar Plus Storage Requirement for Multifamily Housing and Commercial Buildings

Aug. 17, 2021
The new rules could dramatically expand solar and energy storage use across the state of California.

The California Energy Commission (CEC) recently voted to send the 2022 California Energy Code to the California Building Standards Commission. The rules include a requirement that new California buildings be equipped with solar and storage. They apply to multifamily and nonresidential buildings, such as office buildings, schools, restaurants, apartments and more.

This vote builds on California’s landmark decision in 2019 to require virtually all new homes in the state to incorporate solar panels. In addition to these requirements, the 2022 ruling calls for newly built homes in California to be made ready for energy storage.

If the California Building Standards Commission affirms the CEC vote in December, the new requirements would go into effect January 1, 2023.

SEIA’s Codes and Standards experts contributed to the proceedings and provided guidance and technical input on the expanded photovoltaic and energy storage system requirements needed to make this possible.

Following is a statement from Evelyn Butler, vice president of technical services at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) on the California Energy Commission’s latest actions:

“As a result of this vote, virtually all new buildings in California will have solar, and many others could have battery storage upon opening or occupation. These newly constructed buildings include office, retail and medical buildings, schools, apartment complexes, and more. Buildings with solar and storage will provide Californians with cleaner and greener living and working spaces. The rules will significantly contribute to improved grid reliability and local resilience, which is a key part of our clean energy transformation.

“This is a major step forward for the state’s 100% clean energy efforts, and we commend the California Energy Commission for its work.

“The excessive heat waves and wildfires across California show us that the effects of climate change are already here. We must take bold, aggressive action to combat these forces. That starts with strong state and local policies and dramatically improved codes and standards that can help us deploy more solar and storage. California is already a national leader when it comes to clean energy, but we’re not moving nearly fast enough to turn back the clock on climate change.

“Codes and standards are a critical part of SEIA’s work, and we’ll continue to work alongside leaders across the country to create supportive policies and standards. We urge the California Building Standards Commission to add these new requirements to the 2022 Title 24 building code.”