There are plenty of good reasons to install solar panels on a home — from a reduced energy bill to the ability to continue to have power during a blackout (assuming you have the right technology). Across the United States, various states have offered incentive programs at differing levels to encourage the widespread use of solar technology. Across the Pacific Ocean, Tokyo is taking a stronger approach — less encouraging and more requiring.
As Reuters recently reported, Tokyo has mandated that new residential buildings must have solar panels beginning in 2025. The regulation will apply to homes of up to 21,500 square feet, and requires the use of solar and other forms of renewable energy. It’s in keeping with a goal set by Tokyo’s municipal government of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by half from 2000 to 2030.
This manuever from Tokyo’s government isn’t unique in terms of environmentally-minded urban planning. California passed a similar law in 2018, and South Miami has passed something similar. New York’s efforts to implement something similar — both in New York City itself and statewide — have also sought to blend ambitious goals with a blend of state and federal incentives.
The challenges with solar power are not dissimilar to those surrounding electric vehicles when it comes to cost and demand. Tokyo’s recent decision shows one way of accelerating the transition to more renewable energy sources, and it’ll bear revisiting in the years to come to see how well it meets those goals.
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