Monday, June 4th, 2018 by Hannah Staley
California has officially become the first state to require solar panels to be installed on new homes after a unanimous vote earlier this month. A 2015 law requires at least 50 percent of the state’s electricity to come from noncarbon-producing sources by 2030. In 2017, they had already reached 30 percent and with this new law, they are expected to reach their goals even quicker according to the California Public Utilities Commission. This is a huge victory for solar enthusiasts and a step in the right direction towards a greener future.
There are some controversies that have arisen from this new mandate and some people are believing that it was a huge mistake. Due to California’s already high cost of living, the solar panels are expected to increase home values by $8,000 to $12,000. This has some homeowners on edge, but it is already known that solar panels are an investment. At the end of the day, money will be saved due to a decreased electric bill. On average, homeowners spend $1,200, if not more, a year on electric bills. Solar panels can last between 30 to 40 years, which would save homeowners tens of thousands of dollars.
With solar companies like SunPower, residents are able to finance for a choice of 10 years or 20 years. Will Clever spoke to the New York Times about this topic. He moved into a new house 7 months ago, about 20 miles northeast of Sacramento. He did not have the initial $14,000 to pay for the solar panels, so he chose the 20-year lease only paying $76 a month. He didn’t want to pay a fortune during the brutal summers that came with living in Sacramento; he wanted to reduce the costs. He is now living with a low cost electric bill and is already seeing a difference. As solar panels are installed on more homes, residents will see a huge difference in their utility bills.
In comparison, Germany is already ahead since this past January they reached a milestone in their journey towards a renewable future. They covered 100% electricity solely using non-renewable energy. If they can do this, then that means the United States can too. It’s good to see that California has taken a leap of faith by moving forward with this new mandate, and we are only one step away from seeing other states follow in their footsteps.