Non-elected California Energy Commission’s vote could add up to $30,000 to the cost of new houses

Despite soaring home prices, a California commission issues a new solar-panel rule that will drive up the cost of new houses by as much as $30,000.

By Steven Greenhut| California officials have been obsessed this year about the ongoing housing crisis, as home prices soar out of reach of most of the state’s residents and as rent prices consume an ever-greater portion of people’s incomes. Absurdly high housing costs — driven by local growth controls and burdensome state regulatory requirements — are the main reason that California has the nation’s highest cost-of-living-adjusted poverty rate, at around 20 percent.

Steven GreenhutIn a normal place, lawmakers would respond by pre-empting local growth restrictions, reforming a state law (the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA) that makes it too easy for no-growth types to mire housing projects in years of litigation, and paring back some of the regulations that add as much as 40 percent of the cost of every new housing unit built. They might even think about reducing the tax and bond burdens that drive up housing payments.

But this is California, so perish such thoughts. Instead, the Legislature recently killed a high-profile bill that would have granted developers “by right” approval to build higher-density housing around transit stations, which would have boosted housing supply in urban areas. And — grabbing headlines this week — the non-elected California Energy Commission voted unanimously on Wednesday to force virtually all new housing to include solar panels beginning in 2020.

The latter will add between $9,500 and $30,000 to the cost of every housing unit, depending on whose estimates you believe.

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One Response to Non-elected California Energy Commission’s vote could add up to $30,000 to the cost of new houses

  1. Jane Rands says:

    You can get a s-load of PV panels for $30k! Wow!
    But I would hope no one needs THAT much power with the energy efficiency available on home appliances, pool pumps, etc. these days.

    But on new houses where there is no additional cost to retrofit the roof for panels, install new conduit and wiring for transmission, coordinating the grid- tye hookup, or expanding the electric panel combined with the lower cost to procure and install by economies of scale on multiple houses, you can probably get a s-load for the lower $9,500 cost.

    This is a win for new home buyers who will reap the benefit of zero electricity costs without long term contracts, adding a payment to there property tax bill, or pulling a home loan to finance their solar.

    Hot Dog!