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California becomes first state to require new homes have solar power

By Shawn Knight · 14 replies
May 10, 2018
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  1. California this week became the first state in the nation to require all new homes to have solar power. The mandate, unanimously approved by the five-member California Energy Commission on Wednesday, is set to take effect in two years and is expected to add between $8,000 and $12,000 to the cost of a new home.

    As The New York Times highlights, the new requirements will force builders to either make individual homes available with solar panels or build a shared solar panel array to serve a group of homes. If rooftop panels are chosen, they can either be rolled into the price of a home or offered through a monthly lease program.

    The Energy Commission estimates the requirements will add about $40 to the average 30-year mortgage but save consumers as much as $80 per month on heating, cooling and lighting bills.

    The plan will require new homes to have a system capable of generating a minimum of two to three kilowatts which will largely be dictated by the size of the home. As The Times notes, typical residential solar arrays are often two to three times that size and can sometimes generate enough to feed the grid.

    California on average sees the construction of about 80,000 news homes each year.

    For a state that is already suffering from a shortage of affordable housing, it’s sure to be a hot-button issue among locals.

    Permalink to story.

  2. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,121   +1,609

    I'm certainly a proponent of alternative energy, but not convinced this is the best way to go about it. I'm thinking neighborhood solar arrays that are funded/paid for by an HOA type set-up would be a better option than individual home placement. There's no guarantee individual home owners/renters are going to provide the required maintenance on these.

    Also, there's discussion to reduce the square footage requirement for mandatory fire extinguisher sprinkler systems in homes. If that happens - even more cost.

    In a nutshell, not the best time to be home shopping in California.
    bmw95, merikafyeah, Lionvibez and 2 others like this.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,703   +789

    Some good points there TomSEA...

    I'm wondering how this will affect Komifornia home buyers. No one likes being forced to buy anything no matter how good of a thing it is.

    Besides I'm betting based on typical lack of quality components and installers that most home builders use will result in an insufficient system, leaving the home owner having to still suck power off the local power grid. That isn't a good deal at all and isn't all that green in the end.
    BadThad and psycros like this.
  4. Hexic

    Hexic TS Evangelist Posts: 495   +319

    Gotta love California logic.

    It's absurdly expensive to live here now. So let's add $8000-$12000 to the average price of a house, in the name of the environment.

    bmw95, BadThad, poohbear and 2 others like this.
  5. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,121   +1,609

    That's how they got into their current electricity shortage mess they're in now. They passed so many environmental friendly laws that other than windmills and solar panels, no electrical generating plants like dams or nuclear facilities can be built. So they screwed themselves. I live in the state of Washington and 20% of the electricity we generate is sold to California at really high rates because of this situation they self-created.
    BadThad, psycros and TheBigT42 like this.
  6. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,670   +2,434

    Every time CA does this to themselves the surrounding states just smile. Time to stop sending them any water and let the desert take it all back.
  7. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,865   +2,169

    Well if you're buying a NEW home in California then you can afford this, I don't really have problem with that. I personally would love to find a way to make solar more available.

    Now, don't get wrong, I live the sound of a screaming big block as the next guy, but the idea that we aren't using this limitless supply of clean energy beating down on us every day is absurd.

    It's cheaper in the long run and if you look at long term environmental impact(let's leave global warming alone for now but if you don't believe in it, you're wrong). But look at pollution related deaths from lung and heart complications. This stuff is literally killing us. Not using clean energy is killing us faster than we are killing the planet. We might be a few generations away from the full impact of global warming but pollution from fossil fuels is likely to shorten your life span from anywhere between 10 and 15 years.

    We have this free energy source in the sky that shows up everyday without us asking, we don't have to do anything with it. Even with the 30% tax increase in solar panels we are still likely around 5-7 years away from the economics of scale to bring it down below the price of fossil fuels.
    poohbear and drjekelmrhyde like this.
  8. johnehoffman

    johnehoffman TS Enthusiast Posts: 35   +46

    The Government agencies that are pushing this, encouraged by contributions from the solar panel producers and installers, ignore a lot of the true costs, in dollars, pollution, and expenditure of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are used for mining the materials used in the panels, the manufacturing process and in transporting the raw materials to the manufacturers, and then the panels to the installers and end users. Pollution is caused in the mining, manufacturing and installation processes. Then at end of life, fossil fuels are used to transport the panels to disposal sites, the panels take us space at disposal sites, pollution is caused by transporting and disposal of the obsolete panels (possibly very toxic runoff may result), and everyone with old panels will be looking for someone else to cover the cost of removal and disposal and possible liability for future toxic conditions.

    Things always look better than they really are if the benefits are touted and the costs ignored.
  9. drjekelmrhyde

    drjekelmrhyde TS Evangelist Posts: 322   +113

    You'll think people in a state that have rolling blackouts, would've added these a decade ago. People buying a new house in California can already afford this.
    TheBigT42 and merikafyeah like this.
  10. Bp968

    Bp968 TS Booster Posts: 96   +77

    Actually fossil fuels have drastically *increased* your lifespan. Just look at anywhere on the planet that doesnt have cheap and easy access to large amounts of energy. They have much lower quality of life standards and much shorter lifespans. If you read anything about India right now you'll see them explaining why they are making massive investments in coal power plants. They are saying the quality of life it brings their citizens right now are worth the future costs they might bare in using them. And their right (for their people anyway. It doesnt benefit me or you who are already energy rich).

    Direct air pollution is a regional issue and the main reason it's a difficult issue to fight for on a national level. If you live in LA air pollution is a serious issue, mainly because LA is in a stupid location and is basically a bowl to collect air pollution. But for me in Kentucky the air is perfectly clean, even with coal plants (which are nasty, no doubt about it).

    This idea is a stupid one and clearly comes from the minds of the ivory tower elite. Heck just look at the comments, people saying if your buying a new house then obviously you can afford this so no biggie. Well with regulations like this no wonder you can't afford a new home. Around here 12,000$ could be 7-9% of the houses value for a moderately sized home and 5-6% of its value for a large home. A 12,000$ solar array also wouldn't accomplish much around here either.

    What California *needs* to do is build a couple of nuclear power plants using modern reactors. The main issue with nuclear in the USA isnt waste, its fear and cost. If California wants nearly zero pollution power generation they need a few nuclear plants. Using the techniques France has been using for decades would drastically reduce waste production (from a energy generation technology that is already extremely efficient and very low pollution) and using modern reactor technology would make it even safer then it already is (nuclear is one of the safest forms of energy production we have.).

    But that wont happen. The state is run totally on emotion at this point and nuclear is "scary" and it's hard to understand and just doesnt work well when everything is run based on how it makes everyone feelz.
    Hexic and Agnomen like this.
  11. Ean Mogg

    Ean Mogg TS Booster Posts: 111   +49

    A large number of houses in britain have been having solar panels installed with the help of local authority grants for years and as the power companies take the excess power you might have like when your not in the house and they reduce the electric bills by a large amount to the point some the electric companies are paying the consumer.
  12. richcz3

    richcz3 TS Enthusiast Posts: 28   +11

    1st California is one of the state that pays the highest in the nation for electricity and 2nd, SoCal Edison restricts how much Solar Energy an individual house can offset the power bill with.

    Of course, this keeps Non Green energy producers in power and allows SoCal Edison more liberty in the future to hike rates due to losses of future revenue.

    This is all surface politics. Housing in California is in crisis mode already. Its too expensive. Now $10k or more in costs added to new homes.

    I own my home, but know plenty of 30 somethings that finding it increasingly expensive to live here. Let alone to afford a home. This isn't going to help.
  13. BadThad

    BadThad TS Booster Posts: 181   +91

    Kommiefornia forcing people to buy something they likely do not want. You liberals get what you deserve for voting for *****s. Further proof that liberalism is a mentality doomed for complete and utter failure wherever it is promoted and embraced. It is truly the religion of the ignorant!
  14. hood6558

    hood6558 TS Evangelist Posts: 353   +110

    Everyone is complaining about this, like it's a bad thing to have cheaper power bills, and less dependence on the crumbling, overloaded power infrastructure. I bet people bitched about the cost of indoor plumbing when it became mandatory. Probably took many years to complete the change and fill in all the backyard **** holes, but it was well worth it for the improvements in air quality and health. You have to start somewhere, and new construction is the logical place. People resist change, so every good thing we take for granted now had to be forced upon the masses in some way. Nobody is forcing anyone to buy a new house, and "solar-less" houses will be grandfathered in for years to come.
  15. Cryoburner

    Cryoburner TS Rookie

    Where are these solar panels going to be made though? Some heavily-polluting coal-powered factory in China where environmental regulations are almost nonexistent? That's where most solar panels in the US currently come from. Perhaps you are shifting the local environmental impact elsewhere, but it's still there, albeit less easy to accurately assess.

    I do think having solar panels on homes in California can be a reasonable option though, as they tend to get large amounts of sunlight, and having more distributed power generation could help ease their existing shortages.

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