Although the law begins next year, a Realtor.com study found 8 of the 10 U.S. cities with the highest percentage of home solar panels are already in California, and more than six percent of homes in San Jose feature solar panels. The second highest percentage is in Salinas with 4.8 percent, and San Diego is fourth with about 3.3 percent “green” homes.
Phoenix (#3) and Prescott (#5), both in Arizona, are the only cities outside of California in the top ten. So will other states follow California and add the solar requirement?
“We might see states or localities make those decisions,” Hale said. “I think it’s going to take a couple of years before people see how the ramifications play out and what it really does for building in California, before they decide if it’s a good idea to follow suit.”
It all depends on whether home owners directly affected by the changes will embrace them willingly. Sanjay Garje recently told CNBC that he’s buying a home currently under construction in Santa Clara, CA that will come with solar panels on his roof — one year ahead of the requirement.
“I almost got apprehensive about it because we live in a free society and somebody is telling me I have to have solar in the home, ” Garje said.
With his home nearing completion, Garje found that after doing the math, he estimates his monthly energy savings could reach $200. He said he now welcomes the rooftop solar installation, calling it “the icing on the cake.”
–CNBC’s Aditi Roy and Yasmin Khorram contributed to this report.
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