Tokyo to require homebuilders to install solar panels

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Tokyo to require homebuilders to install solar panels

Solar panels are being set up in a facility within the Ueno Zoological Gardens in Tokyo. The Tokyo metropolitan government will require homebuilders to upgrade their homes and buildings with solar panels starting in April 2025.

A measure to introduce quotas for solar panel installations will be submitted to the metropolitan assembly in December this year, according to a Sept. 9 announcement by the Tokyo metropolitan government.

It won't come with penalties to enforce the new requirements.

The change would make Tokyo the first place in Japan to require new homes to come with solar panels installed. Similar frameworks have already been put in place in Kyoto and Gunma prefectures, but they do not cover detached houses.

At a Sept. 9 news conference, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said we will be nurturing a movement so that power will be generated on rooftops as naturally as houses have roofs.

If the reform effort goes smoothly in the capital, the central government may follow in Tokyo's footsteps.

The move is made to counter the rising emissions from households. Tokyo is looking to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 from 2000 levels. The carbon footprint of the household is about 30 percent of its carbon footprint.

The central government put a goal last fall to have solar panels installed on a greater number of newly built residences. It has refrained from making it compulsory.

Under Tokyo's plan, owners who commission the construction of large buildings with a total floor space of 2,000 square meters or greater would have to equip them with solar panels.

They are supposed to install them on homes and other small and midsize structures. Some 50 major corporations that meet certain requirements, such as those that have a total floor space of at least 20,000 square meters per year, are expected to fall into this category.

The metropolitan government wants to make the program more feasible by giving homebuilders more control over the process, and having them take responsibility for installing solar panels while homeowners can decide whether or not to use or sell electricity.

The number of solar panels that homebuilders will install will be dependent on how many homes they build along with their locations. The companies will be able to choose which properties to equip with solar panels, as long as they meet their targets.

Even if contractors and developers don't meet their targets, they wouldn't face penalties.

Tokyo will ask corporations to stick to their goals by giving guidance and publishing their names. It will name and shame any laggards.

The cost of adding solar panels to a roof is estimated to be about 1 million yen $6,900. Tokyo will also provide subsidies for home buyers and solar panel rental agents to reduce the burden on consumers.

The metropolitan government is planning to increase the pace of decarbonizing residences, by improving their heat-blocking and energy-saving abilities, and by making it mandatory to install charging stations for electric cars in new residences.