California has long been regarded as a state that likes to be the first in the nation to implement something new in hopes that other states will follow — for better or for worse. On Wednesday, state officials decided to mandate that almost all new homes and low-rise apartments be built with solar panels on their roofs.
According to Fox News, the new rule will go into effect in less than three years, applying to new construction in 2021 and beyond. The California Energy Commission unanimously voted in the new rule in hopes of making homes less dependent on power plants they say produce too many greenhouse gases.
The commission also claims that new homeowners will see their power bill drop by at least half. But how much will these pre-installed solar panels add to the cost of the already-steep housing prices in California?
The commission estimates constructions costs will raise the average price of a dwelling by $10,000. But they argue the extra cost will be more than made up by energy savings over 30 years of home ownership.
Commission spokeswoman Amber Beck claimed, “For residential homeowners, based on a 30-year mortgage, the Energy Commission estimates that the standards will add about $40 to an average monthly payment but save consumers $80 on monthly heating, cooling, and lighting bills. On average the 2019 standards will increase the cost of constructing a new home by about $9,500 but will save $19,000 in energy and maintenance costs over 30 years.”
Many Californians were quick to praise the mandate, but others are not too sure about it, including Republican Assemblyman Brian Dahle, who said, "That's just going to drive the cost up and make California, once again, not affordable to live.”
The Orange County Building Industry Association’s former president, Bill Watt, added, “We’re not building enough housing already. Why not just pause for a little while, focus on the affordability and housing issues, then circle back?”
Other people on Twitter expressed criticism and ridicule of the solar panel rule.
What do you think of this? In other news, the “Duck Dynasty” family is asking for your prayers.