Starting in 2020, all new homes in California must come with solar panels. Builders are getting ready
Starting in 2020, California will become the first state in the nation to require all newly built homes to be solar-powered. And many developers are figuring out how to comply with the new rules while keeping their houses affordable
The Energy Commission estimates that solar panels will save homeowners an average of $19,000 over 30 years but add roughly $8,400 to the upfront cost of a single-family home — probably pricing many potential buyers out of the market.
According to a study from the National Assn. of Home Builders, every $1,000 increase to the cost of a home makes 52,903 households unable to afford a house. At that rate, a jump of $8,400 would keep about 444,385 households from buying a home.
Affordability is the main concern for the California Building Industry Assn., which represents around 3,100 builders across the state and 85% of all new single-family and multifamily housing production.
A decade ago, the state set a goal to reach net-zero energy use in residential homes by 2020, meaning homes produce enough energy to offset all their electric and natural gas needs. The solar panel mandate represents a step toward that goal.
Home buyers can purchase the solar panels, which the Energy Commission estimates would result in net savings of $35 a month in energy bills with the mortgage increase factored in. Developers place the total energy savings at 50% to 70% based on the size of the system used, among other factors.
Homeowners also can lease the panels from a third party. In this scenario, the company would own the panel and its energy, and in return, give the homeowner a 20% discount on the electricity bill. Leases usually run for about 20 years.
By Jack Fleming LA Times 12/14/18
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Categorised in: home builders