Sci-tech

California Set to Require Solar Panels on New Homes

California Set to Require Solar Panels on New Homes

For the last seven years some homebuilders in California offered home buyers a solar option if they were willing to pay the extra cash.

The state's Energy Commission is expected to approve new energy standards that would require solar panels on the roofs of almost all new homes, condos and apartment buildings from 2020 onward.

California Building Industry Association, which represents new home builders, has expressed reservations about the new rules, saying it wished the state would have postponed the regulations for two years.

Critics say the requirement will just make California's pricey homes even more expensive and out of the reach of many people.

According to CR Herro, vice president of environmental affairs at real estate development company Meritage Homes, the measure is expected to save the homeowner up to $60,000 over the course of 25 years.

The California Energy Commission is expected to vote on the proposal Wednesday.

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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.

While solar installations are not yet mandatory in Australia, supporters want a regulatory framework which gives control back to home owners.

According to the California Energy Commission, the mandate would add $10,000 to the price of the home.

"We're not building enough housing already", Bill Watt, former president of the Orange County Building Industry Association, told the Register.

On the contrary, environmentalists approve of the new standards. "If we pursue (zero net energy) as a comprehensive policy, we'd be making investments that would be somewhat out of touch with our long-term goals".

"The technology is developing so fast, we think the timeline was a bit slow", said Kathryn Phillips, director of Sierra Club California. One of the Energy Commission's five voting members, Andrew McAllister said, "It's very clear that solar will be cost-effective". "That net-zero home is not a net-carbon-zero home".


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