Another California First: Solar Panels on All New Homes From 2020

SunWork Renewable Energy Projects a nonprofit solar installation company trains volunteers to install solar panels on homes in the South Bay Area. Sun Work recently completed an installation on a Sunnyvale home in February

Another California First: Solar Panels on All New Homes From 2020

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.

In addition to the solar requirement, the new building standards will offer a credit for solar capacity combined with on-site energy storage. "By demonstrating a very expensive way to reduce greenhouse gases, I think this could very likely be used in other states and countries as an argument against moving towards renewable energy".

The big problem with the California Energy Commission's new mandate-which passed on May 9 and goes into effect in 2020-is cost. "No other state in the nation will have anything close to this, and you can bet 49 other states will be watching to see what happens here in California".

Demand for solar equipment in California could rise by 10 percent to 15 percent because of the new standards, the Energy Commission forecast in a study earlier this year. Requiring solar arrays on new structures would advance that goal. Overall, California expects the new residential and non-residential standards to cost the state economy $2.17 billion, while generating an energy bill savings of $3.87 billion, for a net savings of $1.7 billion.

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The NRDC notes that the policy must still be approved by the state's Buildings Standards Commission, which will take up the proposal in December. But the California Building Industry Association, which supports the initiative, acknowledged that while the installation costs will be passed on to consumers as part of a home purchase, the cost will be offset by lowered energy costs over the term of a mortgage.

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Experts suggest the cost of adding solar on new homes in areas such as the San Francisco Bay region where real estate prices are already high may not affect homebuyers as much.

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

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"By adopting this policy we can expand solar power throughout California, which is more crucial than ever as Donald Trump and the federal administration try to reverse all the progress we have made to combat climate change", said Wiener in a statement.

It is expected that the owner will get the benefit of saving $50,000 to $60,000 in operating costs over 25 Years.

The California Energy Commission estimates that the average single-family homeowner soaking up solar would almost double their investment in long-term energy bill savings, raking in more than $19,000 in energy costs over a 30 year period, as Reuters reported.

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