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California Will Require Solar Panels on New Homes Beginning in 2020
10 May 2018, 06:42 | Mandy Simon
In a First, California Set to Require Solar Panels On All New Homes
The average cost of constructing a single-family house was estimated to go up by $10,538 - although solar contractors in the San Diego area put the costs of a solar installation at about $20,000, depending on the size of the home.
"It absolutely will increase the cost of homes", says Lisa Vorderbrueggen, director of governmental affairs for the Bay Area Building Industry Association.
The commission vote on Wednesday vote was a critical step toward possible final approval later this year by the state's Building Standards Commission.
All told, the new code is meant to save Californians a net $1.7 billion on energy bills, while advancing the state's efforts to build-out renewable energy, the commission said. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America.
The commission endorsed the requirement after representatives of builders, utilities and solar manufacturers voiced support. They would still have to draw some of their electricity from the power grid.
On very sunny days, the state's solar plants can generate more energy than the system is able to use, pushing prices into negative territory (see "Texas and California have too much renewable energy"). And in California overall, half as many people can afford median priced housing as in the rest of the country.
Critics said the new measures will drive up the cost of building new homes by almost $10,000, in a state already facing a housing crisis and soaring construction costs.
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 regulations include exceptions when solar panels aren't feasible - such as on a home shrouded in shade - or cost effective. Community-shared solar generation equipment will also be an option.
"This is an undeniably historic decision for the state and the USA", said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade association with about 1,000 member companies.
About SEIA®: Celebrating its 44 anniversary in 2018, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the US solar energy industry, which now employs more than 260,000 Americans.
While California will become the first state with a solar requirement, several of its cities have already enacted similar laws.
California, which has the largest GDP of any state and is now the fifth largest economy in the world, continues to pursue ambitious climate goals in spite of the Trump administration's dismantling of climate treaties and nationwide clean energy and air standards.
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