Solar Panel Requirement For New California Homes Clears Hurdle

Homebuyers' wish lists rarely include solar

The measures will protect residents from air pollution originating from outdoor and indoor sources, according to the California Energy Commission.

"It's an important step, but it's just a step forward that we've always been planning", said state Energy Commissioner Andrew McAllister.

Before the mandate, about 15,000 new homes are built in California each year with solar installations. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, signed the climate change bill in 2015 despite intense lobbying by the oil industry. But the California Building Industry Association, which supports the initiative, acknowledged that while the installation costs will be passed on to consumers as part of a home purchase, the cost will be offset by lowered energy costs over the term of a mortgage. The policy approved by the CEC today helps to achieve that goal, but doesn't get all the way there, said Rachel Golden, senior campaign representative at the Sierra Club.

But the group's technical director Robert Raymer said the BIA is supportive of the effort.

The move still needs backing from the state's building standards commission.

'You can bet every other of the 49 states will be watching closely to see what happens, ' he said.

Borenstein notes these savings are effectively subsidized by other ratepayers without solar panels, net metering and solar tax credits.

Ocean Springs HS is state's best, according to US News annual rankings
Design and Architecture Senior High remains the second-best school in the state and seventh best among all US magnet schools. For comparison, Clovis North High School is the next best-ranked central San Joaquin Valley school at 188th in the state.

California - now the world's fifth-largest economy - already has a reputation for pushing the boundaries when it comes to going green.

According to the Solar Foundation, California employed over 86,000 solar workers in 2017, with MA next with 11,500.

Already, the news has been a boon for solar developers such as Sunrun, Vivint Solar and First Solar. In March, median home prices climbed to an eight-month high of $564,830, up 8.9% from a year earlier, according to the California Association of Realtors.

As explained in a blog from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the policy, which is the first of its kind in the US, "will combine rooftop solar panels with enough energy efficiency measures like insulation and better windows" - in turn, bringing the building to net-zero electricity.

"Energy poverty" is determined by the growing percentage of a household's income spent on electric, heating, cooling, and transportation.

Even without the latest proposal, home prices across the USA are slated to rise this year.

The new standards "focus on four key areas: smart residential photovoltaic systems, updated thermal envelope standards (preventing heat transfer from the interior to exterior and vice versa), residential and nonresidential ventilation requirements, and nonresidential lighting requirements", said California Energy Commission spokesperson Amber Beck.

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