California Solar Home Law Likely to Price Many Out of the Market
By Kenneth Artz
A new building code in California requires all newly constructed homes statewide to be solar-powered.
Tens of thousands of homes will be affected by the first-of-their-kind rules approved in 2018 by the California Energy Commission under Gov. Jerry Brown.
The new rules, which took effect January 1, do not apply to existing homes . . .
More Emissions, Less Housing
The solar homes mandate is an ineffective means of achieving the purported goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector, says Wayne Winegarden, Ph.D., a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute (PRI).
“Since greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the United States peaked in 2007, California’s decline in emissions has lagged behind the national average,” Winegarden said. “This performance is even worse once the global and life-cycle impacts from California’s policy choices are considered.
“The solar panel mandate represents more of the same from California, which will likely impose a heavy economic cost on the state while not producing a larger decline in GHG emissions compared to other states,” Winegarden said.
California, with the nation’s largest homeless population, should be implementing policies to make it easier for people to afford places to live, instead of making housing less affordable, Winegarden says.
“The solar panel mandate increases the costs of homes and therefore worsens the homelessness crisis by making it more difficult for the current homeless to obtain an affordable place to live,” Winegarden said. “Additionally, the higher costs will push more families to the edge, threatening to throw more people on to the streets.
“Given the state’s goal of increasing the amount of affordable housing, additional costly mandates are unconscionable,” Winegarden said. “The homelessness crisis should encourage self-reflection among California’s political class, but instead of asking, ‘How have our policies created this crisis?’ politicians in Sacramento continue to double down on the same big-government approach that caused the state’s affordable-housing problems.”
Nanny State Policies
The solar requirement is one of many misguided paternalistic policies imposed by big government, Winegarden says.
“This mandate is another example of the ‘government needs to do something for our own good’ approach by politicians in Sacramento who are sure solar technology is the answer for reducing GHG emissions, that the costs for the technology are coming down, that the technology is appropriate everywhere, and the quality of the product is going up,” Winegarden said.
“None of these are certain, and while possibly correct, there is stronger evidence all of these suppositions are wrong,” Winegarden said.
California’s solar panel mandate will do a lot of harm for a very long time, Winegarden says.
“The solar mandate will consequently force an action on all Californians that will very likely be inappropriate, costly, and ineffective,” said Winegarden. “Further, these costs harm people and, because the government has mandated only one solution and changing that solution would likely take a very long time, these harms will persist for a long time.”