California expected to mandate solar panels for new homes

California is expected next week to mandate that most newly constructed homes include solar panels starting in 2020.

The California Energy Commission will vote on the new solar energy standard Wednesday, Southern California News Group reported.

“California is about to take a quantum leap in energy criteria, ” Bob Raymer, technical director for the California Building Industry Association, told the newspaper. “No other nation in the nation mandates solar, and we are about to take that leap.”

The proposed solar standards would add about $25,000 to $30,000 to the cost of home building, said C.R. Herro, Meritage Homes’ vice president of environmental affairs, according to the report.

But the cost should result in a savings of $ 50,000 to $60,000 over 25 years, he said.

California have already been enforced mandates, or attempted mandates, on auto emissions standards, retirement savings for private-sector workers, teaching lesbian history, water usage, vaccines, teen privacy and other issues.

The new solar mandate would apply to all houses, condos and apartment buildings up to three tales tall that obtain building permits after Jan. 1, 2020, research reports said.

The mandate originated in 2007 when the nation energy commission adopted the goal of making homebuilding so effective that “newly constructed builds can be net zero energy by 2020 for mansions and by 2030 for commercial builds, ” SCNG reported.

But “new thinking” has stimulated the net-zero objective obsolete, state officials told the news outlet.

“Zero net energy isn’t enough, ” told Andrew McAllister, one of five state energy commissioners voting on the new homebuilding criteria. “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.”

If the mandate is approved as expected, solar installations on new homes would also skyrocket, the report told.

But the mandate has its critics.

Bill Watt, a former president of the Orange County Building Industry Association, said the added costs can set home costs further out of reach for many would-be purchasers, the News Group reported.

“We’re not constructing enough housing already, ” Watt said. “Why not only pause for a little while, focus on the affordability and housing issues, then circle back? ”

Builders would prefer California move slower in enforcing the solar mandate, but most nonetheless should be prepared by mid-2 020, Raymer said.

On the contrary, environmentalists approve of the new standards.

“The technology is developing so fast, we think the timeline was a bit slow, ” told Kathryn Phillips, director of Sierra Club California.

Pierre Delforge, energy efficiency program director at the Natural Resource Defense Council, told the News Group that the proposed update was “another important step toward the environmentally-friendly, healthy and affordable home of the future.”

Texas, in contrast, is taking a free-market approach that former California state Assemblymember Chuck DeVore said is increasing the use of clean renewable energy as well lowering energy bills.

DeVore is now a vice president with the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Amy Lieu is a news editor and reporter for Fox News.

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