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Solar news: May 18th, 2018

In this week’s Solar News Roundup, the state of California will require all new homes to be built with solar panels on their roofs starting in 2020, and the number of people employed in the renewable energy industry grew to 10.3 million people globally in 2017.

California will require newly constructed homes to have rooftop solar starting in 2020

Last week, the Golden State passed a mandate that requires all newly built homes to have rooftop solar panel systems. The California Energy Commission unanimously voted to move this ruling forward in an effort to decrease greenhouse gas emissions even further in the state.

Starting in 2020, newly built residential properties up to three stories tall will need to install rooftop panels. There are a few exceptions, including shaded roofs and roofs too small to have a solar panel system. Homes that do not install rooftop solar must have access to community solar projects, or make energy efficiency upgrades.

Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), praised the ruling, stating, “This is an undeniably historic decision for the state… I can’t overstate how strongly I feel about normalizing the solar experience so it feels less risky to the consumer.”

Estimates suggest that the mandate will increase the cost of a new construction project by approximately $10,000. However, the California Energy Commission notes that the long term energy savings for these homeowners will far outweigh this initial cost, and the average single-family dwelling is expected to nearly double their investment over the lifetime of the solar panel system. California is already the leader in residential solar panel systems, and this new ruling could increase demand for residential solar panel systems by as much as 50 percent, solidifying the state’s #1 position well into the future.

Jobs in the renewable energy industry grew 5.3% from 2016 to 2017

A study conducted by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) found that the number of new jobs in the renewable energy industry jumped by more than 500,000 between 2016 and 2017, eventually hitting 10.3 million people globally. This was a 5.3% increase in jobs across sectors including solar, hydropower, and wind, among others.

“Renewable energy has become a pillar of low-carbon economic growth for governments all over the world,” the director general of IRENA, Adnan Z. Amin, said. He also emphasized the growth potential of the renewable energy job sector, and that an increase in the use and deployment of renewable energy could “create up to 28 million jobs in the sector by 2050.” China, Brazil, the U.S., India and Germany had the most people employed in renewable energy, together representing more than 70 percent of the 10.3 million total jobs in the industry.

The solar industry employed the most, accounting for 3.4 million jobs across the world. Despite being one of the fastest growing jobs in the U.S., roughly 65 percent of solar energy jobs reported were in China, which continues to be a market leader for solar photovoltaic and thermal energy. As the prices of solar continue to decline, the solar industry will not only provide insurmountable savings in energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, but continue to play a large role in employment rates across the globe.


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