California, one of the leading green states in the country, recently took yet another environment-friendly step: Regulators approved a plan to mandate rooftop solar panels on most new single-family homes.
The law, which goes into effect in 2020, covers single-family homes and multi-family residential buildings up to three stories high, including condos and apartment complexes. It is expected to add an average of $9,500 to the cost of building a new home, according to CNBC — but also is estimated to save $19,000 in energy costs over a 30-year period.
“This is an undeniably historic decision for the state and the U.S., Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Assn., told CNBC. “California has long been our nation’s biggest solar champion, and its mass adoption of solar has generated huge economic and environmental benefits, including bringing tens of billions of dollars of investment into the state.”
“We cannot let Californians be in homes that are essentially the residential equivalent of gas guzzlers,” added David Hochschild, a member of the state energy commission. “This really puts us on a path to a more efficient future.”
While many, like Hochschild, laud the development, others are less enthusiastic, noting that increased costs may worsen the state’s affordable housing crisis.
Time will tell how the move plays out. Meanwhile, the unconventional law is bound to pique the interest of officials in other states, who will be watching the results closely. Mandated solar panels in sunny Colorado? Stay tuned.
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