California will require solar power on nearly all new homes

California will require solar power on nearly all new homes

California will require solar power on nearly all new homes

As expected, the California Energy Commission (CEC) passed a first-in-the nation rule Wednesday, mandating that all new homes constructed in the state will be equipped with solar panels.

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.

Robert Raymer, technical director for the California Building Industry Association, called it a 'quantum leap'.

The commission endorsed the requirement after representatives of builders, utilities and solar manufacturers voiced support. According to the AP, the mandate still needs final approval from the state's Building Standards Commission, which will likely happen. "Homes had to have a certain amount of space on the roof so a homeowner could add a solar panel later on if he chooses".

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The commission estimates solar panels would boost construction costs for a single-family home by roughly $10,000. The price of solar has dropped dramatically in recent years. It came despite estimates it would raise the up-front cost of a new home by almost $10,000 in one of the most expensive parts of the country. Residential solar arrays are typically two to three times that size, often enough to put power into the grid.

But Republican legislative leaders argue Californians can't afford to pay any more for housing in the state's already extremely expensive market.

'That's just going to drive the cost up and make California, once again, not affordable to live, ' Assemblyman Brian Dahle, the chamber's GOP leader, said Tuesday.

The California Energy Commission is expected to change a building code Wednesday that would require all new homes be equipped with the renewable energy technology, the Times reported.

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The regulations include exceptions when solar panels aren't feasible - such as on a home shrouded in shade - or cost effective.

California is already the nation's No. 1 market for solar installation.

In fact, the state itself generates so much solar and wind power that it must sometimes halt production at some facilities or give the electricity away to other states to avoid overloading the electric grid.

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