California's New Home Builders Solar Panel Mandate Will Save

Ean GoodguySeptember 12, 2018969

California's New Home Builders Solar Panel Mandate Will Save

California might shortly become the first state of the United States to order that practically every new home be equipped with solar panels.

The California Energy Commission on Wednesday is presumed to mandate solar arrays on about all new single-family houses built after Jan. 1, 2020, as part of the state’s fight versus global warming. The rule also would be implemented to new multifamily buildings up to three stories high.

The project, years in the planning, would provide an enormous boost to the state’s solar industry, which lost jobs in 2017 after years of accelerated growth. It would also move California closer to a long-held goal of producing “zero-net-energy” buildings, which provide as much electricity as they use above the course of a year.


Solar Panel Costs Are Here

At this moment, with strict new efficiency standards for windows and insulation that the commission will analyze Wednesday, the solar order could add $10,538 to the cost of building a house, by the agencies. The additional expense would hit at a time when California is suffering a loud and deepening housing affordability crunch.

The moves' advocates insist the solar houses would save their owners money by cutting monthly utility bills. That savings could be worth $16,251 over the 30-year life of the home, according to the committee.

“We do not minimize the cost of housing in the state — everyone recognizes that’s an issue,” stated Andrew McAllister, one of the Energy Commission’s five deciding members. “Their cash-flow position will be improved with the addition of solar. It won’t make it worse.”

Although housing developers had minded about the move, Bob Raymer with the California Building Industry Association stated the commission had presented the new rule with enough flexibility to make it work. For instance, if the roof is too small or blocked from the sun, the builder can compensate by using energy-efficiency steps inside the house. And he admitted that the energy savings for the new solar homes would counterbalance the up-front expenses.


New Homeowners Will Make Money Back On New Solar Panels

“We’re going to be able to look the home buyer in the eye and say, ‘You are going to get your money back,’” stated Raymer, the group’s technical administrator.

California began requiring new energy-efficiency standards for homes in the 1970s, gradually ratcheting them up over time. As a result, per-capita electricity interest in the state mostly stayed flat, even as it expanded elsewhere in the country.

The battle against global warming gave those standards new seriousness. In 2007, both the Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission set a nonbinding target of having all new domestic construction by 2020 be zero-net-energy.

The cost of solar is dropping across the nation. See prices in your area and get free solar quotes on the HahaSmart website.

 

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