California lawmakers on Wednesday officially approved a measure that mandates all homes built in the Golden State in 2020 and beyond be solar-powered.
Officials heralded the move as a “historical undertaking” that “will be a beacon of light for the rest of the country.”
The provisions add an estimated $10,000 to the cost of building a single-family home – including more than $8,400 for installing solar and roughly $1,500 for energy efficiency. Proponents of these requirements, however, say the 30-year lifespan of the solar panels will offset the utility bills. A solar-industry representative cited by the Register said the net savings would come out to roughly $500 a year.
But not everyone was on board with the new measure. According to the Register, the Building Standards Commission has received more than 300 letters denouncing the move.
One California resident wrote that the solar mandate “will be costly to homeowners in California and also eliminates personal choice.” She estimated that the installation fees will run “more than $25,000” not $8,400.
“With median home prices in California already more than double the national average, this decision will make it even more difficult for the average Californian to afford a home,” wrote Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City.
Meanwhile, a commission member voiced his concern that the solar panels would make rebuilding a home more expensive in the wake of a mass fire.
California homeowners will have the option to either pay the costs up front or sign a “power purchase agreement,” which pays for the electricity without buying the panels, according to an official with the California Energy Commission.