Mandatory solar panels on deck for California

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KGO) -- California's sunshine could soon change the state's real estate market.

The Energy Commission is set to vote Wednesday on standards that would require most new home construction to have solar panels starting in 2020.

In addition to going solar, the new standards would push using battery storage and an increased dependence on electricity, over natural gas.

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KB Home has built more than 6,000 solar homes in the past seven years, mostly in California.

That's 12% of the 49,600 homes KB Home sold during that time.

Some houses in a KB Home development in Fremont were built and sold with pre-installed, mandatory solar panels.

A homeowner there said he was happy to be a solar home owner. In fact, he added more panels to his roof than was required by the builder.

"It was our small part that we had an option to do toward sustainability in some way," said Sam Rash of Fremont.

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He said he's already saving money and expects the financial gains to grow in the coming years.

The new requirement are expected to pass Wednesday.

An assistant professor of Environmental Studies and Sciences at Santa Clara University believes that's because Californians are excited about renewable energy and the prospect of saving money on energy bills.

"Adoption of solar is happening but it's going to happen much more slowly than if we help push things with this regulation," said assistant professor C.J. Gabbe.

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