Every new house built in the state of California has to have sufficient solar panels incorporated into the structure to adequately supply it with solar energy. This is a significant step towards moving away from fossil fuels, and other power sources.
The vote to pass the mandate for enforced domestic solar panels was unanimous. The CBSC (California Building Standards Commission) added the new building standard in May 2018, last year. It is now an accepted tenet of the building code in California.
It will go into full effect from 2020 onwards.
House Prices Are Set to Rise
California energy and housing regulators have estimated that this latest addition to the building code will increase the costs to build the average single-family home by around USD$10,000. Labor and materials will cost approximately $8,400, and then there will be another $1,500 additionally to further the energy efficiency of every house built.
These extra expenses at the beginning of home ownership will be eventually offset with lower utility bills. This has not stopped some concerned Californian citizens from petitioning for the building code regulation not to pass because it will interfere with their freedom of choice.
Voices have also been raised against the additional $10,000 cost to new home construction. California already has some of the most expensive real estate in the world, adding solar energy installation to the basic costs could make it prohibitive for a portion of the population. There is widespread belief that the new building code will be impossible to enforce, and many homebuilders will try to find ways around the legislation.
The reason for the backlash against the enforcement of solar power installation is that there are many voters who believe that solar power will never be able to adequately supply an average home with the energy it needs to operate fully. There is also suspicion that taxes will be used to supplement the spread of the new building policy.
One of the main concerns across the state is how the reimbursement of energy supplied to the grid will be implemented, as there are some areas that pay retail prices, and other areas that only pay wholesale. This is seen as an unfair practice, as everyone pays the same price for the solar panels.
How the Grid will Operate
It is unclear yet as to whether the solar power, produced by the homes will be able to provide baseline power for all customers who are using the utilities. If the utility requirements have to be supplemented by nuclear, coal, or natural gas, the opponents to the new mandate don’t see the need for solar power to be necessary at all.
What is another cause for complaint is houses that generate excess electricity have to sell it onto the grid. This is seen as an unsatisfactory method of dealing with a household’s extra power. There are questions as to why the house that generates the electricity is not able to store it and use it as a stand-alone power source.
Choice of Power Source
The general consensus of opinion is that the government is not always in the best position to advise on what energy source should be prioritized. This is a fair statement in the light of previous governments in other countries that whole heartedly endorsed nuclear power only to have following generations object against it.
Energy markets are always best determined by the people who go by the most cost efficient method. In recent times, there has been a swing away from money saving energy choices towards a system perceived to be greener and more earth-friendly.
Whichever way the solar power mandate in California eventually leans towards, the underlying message that is being sent by the state’s leaders is that the days of fossil fuels is drawing to a close, and the way of the future is heading straight towards sustainability.