losangelesnewstoday.com May 20, 2018

CALIFORNIA SCHEMIN': California Becomes First State to MANDATE Solar Panels

10 May 2018, 01:26 | Maryann Sutton

California homebuyers' wish lists rarely include solar

Homebuyers' wish lists rarely include solar

All new homes in California must come equipped with solar panels, according to a building code regulation adopted today by the state's Energy Commission in a 5-0 vote.

California, which is routinely a leader in environmental regulatory efforts, would be the first state in the country with such a requirement. "You have a front door, you have an HVAC system and you get solar panels". This applies to both apartment buildings and private. "No industry groups spoke in opposition". In California's coastal communities, at least, research has found that the sharp rise in housing costs is mostly driven by rising land costs, said Issi Romem, chief economist at BuildZoom, a permit and contractor data analysis website. It is easy to implement it in the area because of constant sunny days and high real estate prices.

But the mandate is projected to increase home building costs by an average of $9,500-which could exacerbate the state's housing affordability problems.

"This is an undeniably historic decision for the state and the US", said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade association with about 1,000 member companies.

"Under these new standards, buildings will perform better than ever, at the same time they contribute to a reliable grid", Andrew McAllister, a member of the commission, said in a statement. One back-of-the-envelope calculation estimates an increased cost of $65 per customer per year.

"Building solar on new homes, as we've heard, is consistent with California's zero-net energy goals for new buildings", said Zadie Oleksiw with Vote Solar.

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The report found retreating glaciers, dying trees, warming waters and devastating droughts and wildfires are tied to global warming. The report credits California's "pioneering policies" created to cut emissions.

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 commission's analysis says the solar panel mandate will have "notably less impact on the housing market than 4-6 months of normal median family home price inflation".

California has pursued a wide-ranging list of policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Use of batteries to store solar energy will be crucial to cost savings, Raymer said.

Currently, California has a law that says 50% of the state's electricity should be coming from non-carbon sources by 2030. Transportation emissions are 40% of the total - twice as much as electricity generation.

In addition to the solar requirement, the new building standards will offer a credit for solar capacity combined with on-site energy storage.

" 'Because of the lack of density, people are forced to drive everywhere".

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