CALIFORNIA SCHEMIN': California Becomes First State to MANDATE Solar Panels

10 May, 2018, 14:27 | Author: Lora Ball
  • California homes may soon be equipped with solar panels

The solar panel requirement, which applies to new single and multi-family home construction up to three stories high, was included in an update to the state's building energy efficiency standards.

While the new requirements aim to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions - one of the state's greatest challenges - they may worsen another problem in the short-term: the high cost of housing.

"Better insulation and windows required by the 2020 code, combined with solar panels, will reduce energy use in single-family homes by a whopping 53 percent compared to current code", the NRDC says.

"This will be nothing short of historic for our state and for our country", said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar & Storage Association, an industry group.

And, as expected, the CEC met on Wednesday and voted unanimously to approve the new building standards which would, amongst other things, "require solar photovoltaic systems starting in 2020".

But overall, making solar panels mandatory will be cost-effective, the report found, and is the only now feasible way for the state to fulfill its goal of making new homes produce as much power as they consume. The measures will protect residents from air pollution originating from outdoor and indoor sources, according to the California Energy Commission. They thanked the commission for involving the building industry in the drafting process.

More news: Rumour - The next iPhone will feature three camera lenses

By the commission's own estimates, this will increase the cost of the average new home by $10,500-in a state where the median home price already stands at roughly $529,460, according to the California Association of Realtors.

"SEIA appreciates the Commission's efforts to help California take steps toward meeting its Zero Net Energy goals by integrating renewable energy with energy efficiency". Exceptions or alternatives will be allowed when homes are shaded by trees or buildings or when the home's roofs are too small to accommodate solar panels.

She noted in an interview that deploying solar as part of the home building process will normalize the technology for tens of thousands of families, in a positive way.

California is already the nation's No. 1 market for solar installation.

But this feel-good change to the building code is a questionable public policy for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions. Over the course of about 25 years - or the average solar panel lifespan - the green-energy products could save owners anywhere from $50,000 to $60,000.

More: World's largest solar battery? That means homeowners with the rooftop solar systems will be able to capture cheap electricity during the middle of the day and to keep that power onsite for evening hours when rates tend to go up.

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