For Immediate Release: January 28, 2010
Media Contact: Amy Morgan - 916-654-4989


Energy Commission's New Solar Homes Guidelines Benefit California Builders

Sacramento - The California Energy Commission unanimously adopted the New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) guidebook on January 27 providing more flexibility for builders and expanding funding eligibility. The NSHP Guidebook describes the requirements for receiving incentives for installing solar electric systems that receive electricity from investor-owned utilities.

"The new guidebook gives builders more flexibility and options to add energy efficiency and solar technologies in their developments," said Energy Commission Vice Chair Jim Boyd. "Builders play an essential role in shaping California's renewable energy efforts."

New NSHP Guidebook changes include projects with leased solar energy systems and power purchase agreements to apply for rebates, reserving funds for housing projects in phases (solar as a standard feature), and extending reservation periods for projects that offer solar as an option.

Updates for affordable housing requirements include aligning occupancy eligibility with the California Solar Initiative, reducing restrictions for projects to remain affordable from 45 years to 10 years and allowing virtual net metering projects to be eligible for funding.

Research released by the Energy Commission* revealed that support for built-in solar electric systems in newly constructed homes has not declined among new homebuyers despite economic pressures. Many consumers continue to believe that builders should make built-in solar electric systems standard features and the value homeowners place on solar energy has remained constant.

As of December 2009, the NSHP applications represent more than 8,400 new energy efficient solar homes and approximately 19 megawatts of solar capacity.

The third edition of the NSHP Guidebook is available on the Energy Commission's website at:

*The NSHP market research was conducted by an independent contractor, Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates, from March to May, 2007, and in June and November, 2008 and October, 2009.

About the New Solar Homes Partnership

Launched in January 2007, the New Solar Homes Partnership is a component of the California Solar Initiative, signed into law in 2006 under Senate Bill 1 to implement Governor Schwarzenegger's $3.3 billion, Million Solar Roofs Program.

The primary goal of the NSHP is to achieve 400 megawatts of new solar-produced electricity by the end of 2016. The NSHP provides financial incentives and marketing support to home builders, encouraging the construction of new, energy efficient solar homes that saves homeowners money on their utility bills and protects the environment. The goals of the NSHP are to create a self-sustaining market for solar homes and gain builder commitment to install solar energy systems on new homes as a standard feature. A new home qualifies for the New Solar Homes Partnership when it is 15 percent more efficient than current building standards.

# # #