California Might Not Require Solar Panels on New Homes After All

A crew installs rooftop solar panels at a home in Camarillo in 2013. (Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

A crew installs rooftop solar panels at a home in Camarillo in 2013. (Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

California became the first state in the nation last year to require solar panels on newly built homes.

But it’s starting to look like the mandate wasn’t quite a mandate.

The California Energy Commission also gave home builders the option of supplying solar power from an off-site facility, mollifying critics who said rooftop solar would raise the cost of housing. Now the commission is poised to approve the first off-site solar program for new housing — over the objections of home solar installers, who say the agency is creating an escape clause so broad it could render the rooftop solar requirement meaningless.

Under a proposal from the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District, home builders could choose to take credit for electricity generated by existing solar farms, instead of building houses with rooftop panels. Homeowners or renters would receive guaranteed energy bill savings of at least $5 per kilowatt of solar power a year, or about $20 annually for a typical household.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

 

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