California, land of the mandatory solar panels

09 May, 2018, 00:27 | Author: Cecelia Webb
  • Currently around one fifth of homes in California are built with solar capacity

The solar energy-powered homes would be backed up by the electrical grid, which would help power homes in the nighttime hours when there is no sun.

The new construction rules are aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but at least in the short run, they will inevitably exacerbate California's notoriously high housing costs and could create yet more barriers to residents struggling to buy homes.

Depending on the outcome of the electoral process, most of which expect them to opt for green energy, anyone will see record numbers in installing solar panels. Buildings with roofs that are too undersized for standard solar systems are debarred from the projected standards.

The state of California is poised to become the first U.S. state to make solar panels a mandatory addition to most newly-built homes.

"We would prefer that the standards be held out another three to six years", said California Building Industry Association's senior engineer, Bob Raymer.

Only 15 to 20 per cent of new single-family homes in California now have solar power installations.

"No other state in the nation mandates solar, and we are about to take that leap", he explained. Solar accounts for about USD 14,000 to USD 16,000 of that cost, with increased insulation and more efficient windows, appliances, lighting, and heating accounting for another USD 10,000 to USD 15,000.

Meritage Homes now installs solar on about 10 percent of its homes, and about 1 percent of them are net zero, a company official said. However, most people have declined owing to their assumption that they are just bills that need to be paid.

Officials are saying there are exceptions built into the mandate, but will they be enough? "Why not just pause for a little while, focus on the affordability and housing issues, then circle back?"

On the contrary, environmentalists approve of the new standards. This would apply once the private home's current energy needs were met.

The state's Energy Commission will be voting on the legislation next week.

"That additional (home-generated) solar kilowatt-hour isn't worth very much because it's displacing what is already clean energy", McAllister said.



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