California Regulator OKs Solar Panels Mandate For New Homes

California Regulator OKs Solar Panels Mandate For New Homes

"It absolutely will increase the cost of homes", says Lisa Vorderbrueggen, director of governmental affairs for the Bay Area Building Industry Association.

The measure now moves toward final approval later this year by the state's Building Standards Commission.

In the long-term, building more homes - soon with solar panels - could drive down living costs in the Golden State.

The commission estimates solar panels would boost construction costs for a single-family home by roughly $10,000.

California has struggled with an affordable housing crisis in recent years.

The approved requirement is expected to give a strong lift to California's already hot solar market. They would still have to draw some of their electricity from the power grid.

"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.

'This is a very bold and visionary step that we're taking, ' said David Hochschild, a member of the Energy Commission.

Few industry groups outwardly oppose the plan after working for years with the commission to shape the regulations.

But Republican legislative leaders argue Californians can not afford to pay any more for housing in what is already an extremely expensive market.

The commission estimates that 117,000 single family homes and 48,000 multi-family units will be constructed in California in 2020.

The new mandate does offer exceptions where solar power is not feasible or cost effective, such as homes located entirely under shade. If there is battery storage installed, the size of the rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system could be smaller.

California is already the nation's No. 1 market for solar installation. This means that a house would have to generate as much energy as it used.

The state updates its building codes, including energy efficiency standards, once every three years.

About SEIA®: Celebrating its 44 anniversary in 2018, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the USA solar energy industry, which now employs more than 260,000 Americans.

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