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California Energy Commission approves plan requiring solar panels on new homes

California Energy Commission approves plan requiring solar panels on new homes”

California just became the first U.S. state to mandate solar panel installations on all new homes.

The new rule could add more than $10,000 to the costs of building a home, raising the price tag in what's already one of the most expensive states to purchase housing.

The five-member California Energy Commission passed the new requirements with very little debate.

Making California homes more energy-efficient is part of a broader initiative to shrink the state's greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

The rule takes effect on January 1, 2020, and will apply to any new single-family home, apartment building, or condo that is three stories or under. There are some exceptions to the solar panel rule, such as homes that would be shaded by trees or buildings or when roofs are too small for the panels.

Read the full story at Fox News. Several cities, including San Francisco and South Miami, Fla., have residential solar panel requirements.

Representatives of the construction, utility and solar industries all helped develop the new standard, and no industry groups spoke in opposition Wednesday. Less than 20% of homes built in the state now include the panels. It requires new homes to have a solar-power system of a minimum 2 to 3 kilowatts, depending mostly on the size of the home. They are unique Day4 flexible solar panels with all new redesigned structures and electrodes having the capacity to capture more light.

The solar panel mandate will now go before the state building standards commission where it's expected to pass. "This solar decision could be yet another win for America's energy independence".

Officials in St. Petersburg, Florida, made a similar argument when they were mulling their own solar mandate previous year, with City Councilman Kevin Nurse telling Reason, "You can create a system that provides local jobs, reduces fossil fuel use and pollution, and reduces the cost of owning a home". Advertising a new energy system indicates to buyers the house has been upgraded in other ways, such as with smart thermostats and efficient windows, said Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow.

This poses a problem for organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, which aims to provide more affordable housing to people in need.

Delforge says that the increase in construction costs due to the solar panel mandate is "only half the equation", and the monthly savings in utility bills for residents will outweigh the burden down the line.

While the step is significant, California has been preparing for the transition to solar energy for years, according to a spokeswoman for the state energy commission.

But this feel-good change to the building code is a questionable public policy for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions.



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