All New California Homes Must Incorporate Solar

10 May, 2018, 00:40 | Author: Mary Valdez
  • California regulators approve mandate for solar panels on new houses

A state board in California has approved a proposal to require solar panels on all new homes beginning in 2020, a measure that would increase the cost of new construction but provide savings on utilities - and help the state meet ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

But Republican legislative leaders argue Californians can not afford to pay any more for housing in what is already an extremely expensive market.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the change amounts to an additional 200 megawatts of solar deployed in the state annually.

It will save homeowners about $19,000 in energy and maintenance costs over 30 years, Energy Commission spokeswoman Amber Pasricha Beck told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Solar rooftop. Author: David TREBOSC.

The California Energy Commission on Wednesday approved a requirement for solar panels on new homes starting in 2020. A National Association of Realtors survey for the fourth quarter of 2017 listed four California markets among the nation's five most expensive.

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Constructing a home in accordance with the new rules will add about $9,500 in immediate costs, according to estimates by the Energy Commission. MORE earlier this year introduced a 30 percent tariff on solar panel technology, a move fiercely criticized by USA solar companies.

"It's a weird word, but the normalization of solar is important", she said.

"Low mortgage payments alone don't make for affordable housing", said George Koertzen, construction superintendent at Habitat for Humanity in San Joaquin County, in a statement.

While many are in favor of this mandate, others support the goal of "net zero" building, which means that the solar on the home produces just enough electricity to offset the fossil fuels consumed.

Rachel Golden, senior campaign representative for the Sierra Club's My Generation clean energy campaign, said the plan is encouraging but that the focus must include reducing gas emissions from buildings. "While we have programs to increase the use of renewable energy and reduce our reliance on gas plants, we do not have policies in place to replace gas use in buildings with available high-efficiency electric technologies that can be powered by clean energy".

"Alex Steffen, who writes about sustainability and urban planning, said the state's biggest climate challenge is the fact that Californians drive so much".

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