California regulators approve plan to mandate solar panels on new homes

California regulators on Wednesday approved a first-in-the-nation plan to mandate the installation of solar panels on all new homes beginning in 2020.

The move was approved with a 5-0 vote by the California Energy Commission, in what supporters of solar energy are hailing as a monumental moment.

“This is an undeniably historic decision for the state and the U.S.,” Abigail Ross Hopper, the Solar Energy Industries Association’s CEO said in a statement. “California has long been our nation’s biggest solar champion … now, California is taking bold leadership again, recognizing that solar should be as commonplace as the front door that welcomes you home.”

The regulation will go into effect once it receives its expected approval by the Building Standards Commission later this month.

And while proponents of renewable energy may be pleased with the decision, there’s mounting concerns that the requirement will only aggravate the state’s home affordability crisis, as the mandate is expected to add at least $10,000 in additional construction costs.

However, supporters argue that utility savings will balance out that cost in the long term.

“Adoption of these standards represents a quantum leap in statewide building standards,” Robert Raymer, technical director for the California Building Industry Association, told the commission. “You can bet every other of the 49 states will be watching closely to see what happens.”

But Republican leaders are already coming out against the decision, framing it as just the latest example of government overreach in Sacramento.

“That’s just going to drive the cost up and make California, once again, not affordable to live,” Republican Assemblyman Brian Dahle reportedly said of the dangers of the rules.

The mandate will apply to all homes, condominiums and apartment buildings up to three stories high — with exceptions for structures that are covered by shade.

According to the commission’s own estimates, the panels will cost homeowners around $40 a month, but save them about $80 a month on heating, air conditioning and other costs.

“This is great for wealthier homeowners, but for everybody else it’s one more reason to not go to California or to leave ASAP,” American Enterprise Institute economist Jimmy Pethokoukis said on CNBC Wednesday.

More broadly, the move is part of California’s plan to have all residential buildings be “zero net energy,” which means that the the total amount of energy used by the building is the same as the amount of renewable energy it creates.


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  1. Dude McCool
    Dude McCool 11 May, 2018, 16:31

    The increase of the oppressive socialist state continues. When will Brownstain’s jack-booted Nazis be knocking down my door?

    Reply this comment
    BOGIEWHEEL 11 May, 2018, 20:31


    Reply this comment
  3. Bob Smith
    Bob Smith 11 May, 2018, 21:49

    If the construction cost is $10k you can bet the all-in cost will be more like $20k. All to save $40 a month. It’s so generous of the government to help us save a bit on operating expenses while totally ignoring capital expenses. Payback time, assuming zero maintenance costs, zero cost of capital, and zero inflation, nevertheless exceeds the lifetime of the panels.

    Reply this comment
  4. ricky65
    ricky65 12 May, 2018, 08:20

    How is it that that the 10K figure to install a solar system is repeated ad nauseum by the un-curious press stenographer corp without anyone challenging that figure?
    Any decent sized system will cost 20-30K even if built in during new home construction.
    Ol’ honest Abe was right. “A lie will travel around the world half a dozen times before the truth can get its boots on”

    Reply this comment
  5. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 12 May, 2018, 22:21

    How about fixing the Oroville Dam instead of reqiuring Solar Panels on all new home all over this Global Warming/Climate Change poppycock California is becoming the most rediculous state in the lower 48

    Reply this comment
    • Tobi
      Tobi 19 May, 2018, 18:00

      I beg your pardon – ‘…has become….”! We are the laughing stock of the country!

      Reply this comment
  6. Queeg
    Queeg 13 May, 2018, 08:41


    The State will zero you out too !

    Reply this comment
  7. Bob
    Bob 13 May, 2018, 20:02

    “According to the commission’s own estimates, the panels will cost homeowners around $40 a month, but save them about $80 a month on heating, air conditioning and other costs.”

    Pure bullshit. If this was true there would be no need to pass a law making solar panels mandatory.

    Reply this comment
    • Bob Smith
      Bob Smith 14 May, 2018, 00:34

      Even if it’s true nobody would ever spend their estimate of $10k, let alone the more likely cost of $20-30k, to save a net $40/month without being required to by government mandate.

      Reply this comment
  8. Bubba
    Bubba 14 May, 2018, 11:18

    Hey all you folks from Rio Linda, why don’t just defund Moonbeams Choo Choo to now where and everybody free Solar?
    Me wonders how long it will be until those MORONS in Sacramento make this mandatory for all homes?
    After isn’t Moonbeam and the legislator trying to eliminate internal combustion engines and outlaw all fossil fuels in the People’s Republic in the name of Phony Global Warming?

    Reply this comment
  9. Tobi
    Tobi 19 May, 2018, 17:55

    Just o!ne more stupid move on the part of our state government to drive the middle class away, raise the price of their housing even further! Yet they continue to pat themselves on the back for what wonderful environmental advances they make while the state continues to go down the sewer – one idiot Democratic idea at a time! Unintended consequences, or is it intentional?????

    Reply this comment

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