As outlined in a recent article on utsandiego.com, California is now encouraging homebuilders that install rooftop solar systems to face them westward toward the setting sun.
The goal is to capture more solar energy during the later part of the day when energy usage peaks. Even though this will drop overall solar panel power generation by 20% on average, the 50% increase in solar power production between the high-usage hours of 2pm to 8pm will have a profound effect on reducing generator pollution during those hours.
The best part for new home builders is that California is willing to pay them for the change – an extra $500 per solar installation.
As of 9/1/2014, California implemented The New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP program, part of the California Solar Initiative (CSI). The NSHP was set up to give financial benefits to home builders that build new, energy efficient solar homes that not only save the planet, but also save money for new home buyers by creating houses that are between 15% and 30% more efficient than current building standards. According to the article, by installing these westward facing panels, incentives under this program will be increased by 15%, making it the first incentive solely designed around west-facing solar panels.