Economy

California becomes first state requiring all new homes be built with solar

California becomes first state requiring all new homes be built with solar

The new building standard - unanimously approved by the five-member California Energy Commission - would be the first such statewide mandate in the nation.

Research from analysts at ClearView singled out Wednesday's distributed solar mandate as a possible opening for utilities to argue that California regulators should reconsider the net metering reform proposal.

The rule will go into effect on January 1, 2020, and does not need to be approved by the Legislature or the California Public Utilities Commission.

While the new requirements aim to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions - one of the state's greatest challenges - they may worsen another problem in the short-term: the high cost of housing.

While requiring less panels and the addition of energy storage are good moves for a state that already generates a ton of renewable power, another problem is adding these costs to homes.

In all, the new residential requirements are expected to make a single-family house $9,500 more expensive to build on average, but save $19,000 in reduced utility bills over a 30-year period, according to the Energy Commission. The measures will protect residents from air pollution originating from outdoor and indoor sources, according to the California Energy Commission.

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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.

The Sunshine State's solar demand slowed up a bit previous year with excess renewable power being generated. Some economists say home and rent prices will continue to grow in 2018.

"The combination of rooftop solar and the option to add energy storage systems as an efficiency compliance credit provides builders with an attractive, cost-effective option to fully electrify homes", Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, said in a statement.

California's housing department estimates that the state needs to build 180,000 new housing units annually to keep prices stable.

The requirement would apply only to newly constructed homes, although many homeowners are choosing to install rooftop solar panels with the help of rebate programs.


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