Finance

California's new homes to have solar by 2020; SunRun shares jump

California's new homes to have solar by 2020; SunRun shares jump”

California became the first state in the union Wednesday to require solar panels be installed on all new home construction; a move created to help "cut greenhouse gases" but could add even higher prices to the nation's most expensive housing market.

Mandating solar panels would make building new homes more expensive, and the commission estimates it would cost $9,500 more per home.

According to CEC estimates, the new standards will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 700,000 metric tons during the three-year cycle of the standards, equivalent to taking 115,000 gasoline cars off the road.

The rule takes effect on January 1, 2020, and will apply to any new single-family home, apartment building, or condo that is three stories or under.

The rules focus on smart residential PV systems, updated thermal envelope standards, residential and non-residential ventilation requirements and non-residential lighting stipulations.

But overall, making solar panels mandatory will be cost-effective, the report found, and is the only now feasible way for the state to fulfill its goal of making new homes produce as much power as they consume.

The solar rules apply to all new construction and major renovation on buildings under three stories. Such an objective would have required that all new homes built after 2020 produce as much energy as the household would have consumed.

In this tight housing market, any roof - with or without solar panels - is desirable, real estate agents say.

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That made the relative ease of its approval - in a unanimous vote by the five-member California Energy Commission before a standing-room crowd, with little debate - all the more remarkable.

Luxury home sellers saw only a 13 percent gain in value over comparable houses when listing solar energy as an amenity, the study found.

A key element in crafting the new standards was to ensure that the efficiency upgrade and solar systems would be affordable to all Californians.

"The homeowner pays a small fee to lease the equipment but receives the benefit on their monthly utility bill", Beck told CNN. "California's affordability problem is making it more and more hard for people to afford to live here".

She says she'd like to see some sort of a rebate plan to help low-income home buyers access the market.

But this feel-good change to the building code is a questionable public policy for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions.

California, which has the largest GDP of any state and is now the fifth largest economy in the world, continues to pursue ambitious climate goals in spite of the Trump administration's dismantling of climate treaties and nationwide clean energy and air standards.

According to the New York Times, the California Energy Commission is close to approving this requirement, which would take effect in 2020, and that there are other states who are also considering a similar legislation.



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