By Ivan Penn
© The New York Times Co.
California regulators voted Wednesday to require solar power and battery storage in new commercial buildings and high-rise multifamily dwellings, the latest front in the state’s efforts to hasten a transition from fossil fuels to alternative energy sources.
The California Energy Commission approved the proposal by a vote of 5-0. The proposal now will be taken up by the state’s Building Standards Commission, which is expected to include it in an overall revision of the building code in December.
The energy plan, which would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023, also includes incentives to eliminate natural gas from new buildings and to make it easier to add batteries to existing solar systems in single-family homes.
“The future we’re trying to build together is a future beyond fossil fuels,” David Hochschild, chief of the Energy Commission, said before the agency’s vote.
“Big changes require everyone to play a role. We all have a role in building this future.”
The provisions would supplement requirements that took effect last year, which mandate that new single-family homes and multifamily dwellings up to three stories high include solar power.
The latest code provision is widely expected to receive final approval and contribute to California’s aggressive effort to cut carbon emissions.
Lindsay Buckley, a spokesperson for the Energy Commission, said that although “there is no guarantee” of the plan’s adoption by the Building Standards Commission, no such proposal had ever been rejected after approval by the energy panel.