A momentous leap in green energy was made today as the California Energy Commission voted on a bill requiring all new homes to have solar, starting by 2020. This news is startling to say the least and to put things into perspective—California just became the first and only state to mandate rooftop solar panels on new home construction.
Imagine you spend about $10,000 for a 3-kW solar photovoltaic (PV) system – the size needed for an average family – and your neighbor to the east adds a second story to his garage.
The addition is designed for offspring who will perhaps never leave home, but it shades your new solar panels. It’s not too bad in summer, but in winter it blocks all but an hour of late morning sun. You would have been better off taking that two-week vacation in Jamaica or Cabo San Lucas.
Three national nonprofit organizations recently partnered to create an online resource that examines solar industry programs and policies as they relate to low-income American families.
The three nonprofits — the New York-based Center for Social Inclusion, California-based GRID Alternatives and California-based Vote Solar — launched the “Low-Income Solar Policy Guide” on March 14 during an event in Manhattan.
The sun will continue to shine on the solar industry in California. Utility regulators there voted this week to retain retail rate net metering for solar customers. While there will be some changes to the state’s net metering policies, the vote is seen by most as a victory for California’s rooftop solar customers and businesses.
The world’s most innovative, livable, energy efficient homes of the future are on display in the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif. this week.
Could the utility war on solar be so catastrophically timed as to spur mass grid defection?
If California utilities had proposed slashing net metering benefits in half and tacking on an $18 monthly connection fee for solar customers three years ago, it might have stifled the growing industry. Instead, the proposal to the California regulators is timed to coincide with the release of the Tesla Powerwall.
California’s new energy policy will ensure the sun keeps shining on the state’s solar industry even if it’s not likely to benefit the residential rooftop market.
The new energy policy passed by California legislators last week and waiting for a signature from Governor Jerry Brown, will require utilities to get 50 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and for building owners to double the efficiency of their properties by the same time.
The California Public Utilities Commission received dozens of proposals from the state’s publicly-traded utility companies Monday night offering a glimpse into the future of rooftop solar in the state.
State legislation passed in late 2013 tasked the commission with revamping utility regulations regarding residential utility bills and solar tariffs. The legislation dictates that the PUC prioritize continued rooftop solar industry growth while aligning solar costs and benefits.
A new California regulation that allows companies to package energy from small producers and sell it on the wholesale market is good news for the long-term viability of rooftop solar.
As utilities push back against paying the full retail rate for the power solar customers feed onto the grid, some expect the popularity of rooftop solar to wane. News outlets this week have noted that the meteoric rise of rooftop solar could slow when the 30 percent national investment tax credit declines in 2016 and as utilities reduce net metering payments.