Late last week, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 178, authored by Senator Brian Dahle (R-Bieber).  AB 178 exempts post-fire residential rebuilding from recently-adopted California Energy Commission (CEC) solar energy installation mandates.  

RCRC member counties contain much of California’s forested lands and have suffered the vast majority of the State’s most catastrophic wildfire events in the last decade. Many of these fires also occurred in some of the most socioeconomically disadvantaged areas of the State, where economic resources to mitigate the impacts of such disasters and aid residents with recovery are extremely limited.

The CEC recently required all new residential buildings built after January 1, 2020 to be equipped with solar photovoltaic systems. Since post-fire rebuilding is considered “new construction” and must adhere to the current building standards at the time of rebuilding, this new mandate could add significant cost to the price of rebuilding for homeowners who already lack the resources to rebuild their homes.

AB 178 exempts post-fire residential rebuilding that meets certain requirements from this mandate.  RCRC’s support letter can be accessed here.