California is inching closer to mandating homebuilders to equip all new homes with solar panels. Over the last few years, solar panels were just an optional feature that some homebuyers were willing to pay extra for.
- The Golden State now wants to bring solar power to every new home built on its territory.
- The state’s energy regulator cast a vote on the issue on Wednesday.
- The new mandate will come into effect in 2020.
If the California Energy Commission approves the initiative, solar panel industry’s revenues will go through the roof. Currently, just 15 percent of single-family homes have solar panels.
California is about to take a quantum leap in energy standards,
California Building Industry Association’s Bob Raymer said.
The new rules will challenge California’s “net-zero” goals, though. Under the “net-zero” initiative, new homes that are equipped with solar panels have to generate enough green energy to offset the not-so-green energy they consumed over the course of one year.
“Net-Zero” Standards Are Not Enough
Regulators noted that net-zero homes still rely on the power grid at night, which makes the program incomplete. Andrew McAllister of the energy commission explained that net-zero-energy initiatives would require investments that are “out of touch” with the state’s long-term energy goals.
While homebuilders and conservationists hailed the proposed rules, not everyone is happy with ditching the net-zero standards. Critics think that the new approach would lead to more compromises.
California also wants new homes to rely more on electricity and less on natural gas while boosting their energy storage capacities.
Under the proposed rules, all new condos, houses, and apartment buildings up to three stories tall that will be built after Jan. 1, 2020 will have to be equipped with solar panels. There will be some exceptions: when the buildings are shaded by taller buildings or trees or the rooftops are too small for solar modules.
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