Should Photovoltaic Panels Be a Home Requirement?
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On May 9, 2018, California’s energy commission mandated that new homes have photovoltaic arrays. Starting in 2020, this new provision will be in effect.
With this decision to make solar a requirement has come controversy. Many points for and against mandated solar have come to light.
Until California works out the kinks, other states probably won’t implement similar legislation. However, the concept is intriguing. Let’s take a look at some of the flaws and strengths of making solar mandatory for new homes.
Cons of Solar Mandated Homes
Controversy isn’t always a bad thing. It allows problems to be better solved and solutions to meet the needs of more individuals.
The Declaration of Independence, arguably one of the most important documents this nation has ever created, was fraught with contention from people with differing opinions. However, because these opinions were voiced, they were taken into account so that the final document could better serve our emerging nation.
Antagonists have already started to voice their concern with this new solar policy. Here are a few of the points that they have made against California’s solar legislation.
Not the Most Cost-Effective Option
Some feel that rooftop solar isn’t the most cost-effective way to increase renewable energy. Solar farms and wind farms have been suggested as a more economical option.
Although these solutions would take up more real estate, which also costs money, the energy would be cheaper per watt. This is because larger quantities of equipment would be installed at one time.
Possible Grid Issues
Another reason that people feel this policy is a bad idea is the current grid infrastructure. Because California has already had grid issues, some worry that more solar will make it worse.
Because excess solar goes on the grid at the same time, it can create an overload of electricity. This would cause grid failure to occur more frequently if smart grid technology isn’t in place. This would evenly distribute the excess solar power produced during the day.
Solar’s Impact on the Housing Market
Last, though not least, of the concerns people have is the impact increased solar installations will have on the housing market. Studies have shown that solar arrays increase the value of homes.
However, homes in California are already pricy. Mandating solar could make it even harder for low and middle-income individuals to live in California.
Pros of Solar Home Requirements
There wouldn’t be an argument if there weren’t two sides to consider. This is why is imperative to know both sides of an issue.
That is why this post doesn’t only delve into the cons of implementing California’s solar legislation. It has also taken into consideration the pros.
Although there are possible downsides to mandating solar, there are also some foreseen benefits. Before writing off this solar law, let’s look at some of the predicted positive outcomes.
The Supply and Demand of Solar
Because solar would be more prevalent, systems will most likely continue to drop in price. This would make solar installations cheaper.
This means that today solar will continue to be a viable financial investment. Then, when the solar array has lived out its 25 to 30-year life, it will be easier to replace.
Promoting a Carbon-Free Lifestyle
Another outcome is that solar panels promote a carbon-free lifestyle. Currently, people use electricity without a second thought about where it comes from.
Residental solar, however, calls attention to the importance of a clean power source. It is hard to not think about the environment when almost every home has solar panels on their roof.
Utilities and Solar Customers
The requirement for solar on new homes would also cause utilities to make some changes. Currently, because solar takes away from the demand for fossil fuels, utilities across the United States are fighting against rooftop solar.
However, if residential solar was a state requirement, utility companies would need to provide favorable residential solar policies — making it easier for individuals to not be dependent on the grid.
What Americans Want
Although the conflict continues, what matters is if American’s want more solar. To see what American’s think about the situation, Pew Research Center did a national poll of 2,000 people.
This poll found that 89 percent supported expanding the use of solar in America. Although only 4 percent already had solar, 40 percent had given it serious thought.
This means that, although most in America don’t have solar, they want it. Having homes that already have solar installed would make the process easier. That said, this policy isn’t necessary.
People that want to save money on electric bills and live a carbon-free lifestyle can do it today. All they have to do is start a quote and see what the possibilities for their home are.