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Building a new California home? Solar panels will likely soon be a mandate — and they're not cheap
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Building a new California home? Solar panels will likely soon be a mandate — and they're not cheap

California is set to become the first state in the U.S. to require most new construction homes to have solar panels.

What are the details?

According to the Orange County Register, the state's five-person energy commission board will hold a Wednesday vote to determine whether to enact such a move.

If the measure passes as expected, the state would require solar panels to be installed in all new homes, apartment buildings, and condominiums up to three stories tall.

The measure would go into effect as a mandate on Jan. 1, 2020.

Certain exceptions would be made for homes, apartments buildings, or condominiums that fall between certain parameters such as homes that are partially or entirely shaded, or too small to fit a panel.

The solar energy-powered homes would be backed up by the electrical grid, which would help power homes in the nighttime hours when there is no sun.

The Register reported that the commission will likely pass the measure and noted that the measure would effectively raise new construction building costs by approximately $25,000 to $30,000.

What are some people saying about this?

Bob Raymer, technical director for the California Building Industry Association, said that the state is about to take a "quantum leap in energy standards."

"No other state in the nation mandates solar, and we are about to take that leap," he explained.

According to Raymer, about 15 to 20 percent of newly constructed single-family homes include solar panels.

Bill Watt, a California homebuilder and design consultant, who is also former president of the Orange County Building Industry Association, isn't so sure that the added requirements aren't going to sabotage the housing market.

"We’re not building enough housing already," Watt said. "Why not just pause for a little while, focus on the affordability and housing issues, then circle back?"

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