California Is On Track To Require Solar Panels On New Homes

Posted May 11, 2018

The state agency estimates that new homes consume 30% less energy than old ones with new energy code.

Robert Raymer, technical director for the California Building Industry Association, called it a "quantum leap".

Almost 16% of the state's electricity a year ago came from solar.

About 117,000 new single-family homes and 48,000 multi-family units will be built in 2020, the commission estimates.

The state's energy commission unanimously approved the plan, marking a major step towards the state's quest for putting an end to greenhouse gas emissions.

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Homes built in California in a couple of years will have to be equipped with solar energy systems.

As The New York Times highlights, the new requirements will force builders to either make individual homes available with solar panels or build a shared solar panel array to serve a group of homes.

The minimum amount of solar power required by the new standards wouldn't be enough to meet all the needs of most homes. If they save on electricity bills, however, it will be because customers who do not have solar panels are subsidizing them. "The buildings that Californians buy and live in will operate very efficiently while generating their own clean energy".

"We are first but we will not be last", said Commissioner David Hochschild after vote. The extra expense would hit at a time when California is suffering a severe and deepening housing affordability crisis.

The Sacramento Bee reports that the California Building Industry Association, which represents new homebuilders, has expressed reservations about the new rules, adding it wished the state would've postponed the regulations for a few years. Exceptions will also be granted to properties where it's not feasible or cost-effective, such as for properties that are located entirely under shade.

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"Anything that's going to expand the market and increase awareness is great", Barry Cinnamon, CEO of San Jose-based Spice Solar, which specializes in residential installations, told the paper.

Renewable energy is California governor Jerry Brown's thing.

Even so, one of the members of the Energy Commission, Andrew McAllister, sees it as an advance against global warming and an advantage for the citizen.

California has long led the nation's battle against climate change and has adopted tough regulations to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

This story was reported by The Associated Press.

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