MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

California Regulators Want to Add $10,500 to the Price of a New Home With a Solar Panel Mandate

But they swear the new regulations will actually save homeowners money.

Aprescindere | Dreamstime.comAprescindere | Dreamstime.comCalifornia regulators may achieve the remarkable feat of making housing in the Golden State even more expensive. All they have to do is pass a mandate that most new homes come with solar panels already installed.

The California Energy Commission is expected to vote today on regulations requiring all new single-family homes, as well as all multi-family buildings of three stories or less, to come pre-fabricated with solar panels. Exceptions would be made for smaller houses and for shade-covered roofs, whose owners could substitute other energy efficiency measures. The rules would take effect in January 2020.

By the commission's own estimates, this will increase the cost of the average new home by $10,500—in a state where the median home price already stands at roughly $529,460, according to the California Association of Realtors. The U.S. average, by comparison, is about $268,546.

Incredibly, the mandate's supporters are using the high cost of California housing to argue for the rule, by suggesting the new expenses will be relatively insignificant. The commission's analysis says the solar panel mandate will have "notably less impact on the housing market than 4–6 months of normal median family home price inflation." Oh...good.

Regulators also claim the costs won't matter because the mandate will actually save you money. The commission estimates that consumers will net $16,500 in savings over the span of 30 years.

"Their cash-flow position will be improved with the addition of solar. It won't make it worse," Andrew McAllister, one of the commission's five voting members, tells the San Francisco Chronicle.

Officials in St. Petersburg, Florida, made a similar argument when they were mulling their own solar mandate last year, with City Councilman Kevin Nurse telling Reason, "You can create a system that provides local jobs, reduces fossil fuel use and pollution, and reduces the cost of owning a home."

Sirens should start blaring in your head when officials justify regulations of consumers' behavior on the grounds that it will save them money.

Individual consumers are certainly fallible, but they usually are in the best position to make decisions about what expenses make sense for them. That they are not uniformly spending an extra $10,500 on solar panels—despite the massive government subsides flowing to the panels' makers and users—suggests they have other uses for that money.

They might, for instance, want to sink that money into a mutual fund, a 401k, or another investment that offers a better return than the estimated $16,500 over 30 years netted by solar panels. Others might place more value on spending that $10,500 today on a pressing necessity rather than putting it into some sort of state-mandated solar savings account.

Individuals face a lot of trade-offs with their money. Blithely assuming that some government-imposed saving measure is worth it for them is the height of arrogance.

Of course, the mandate isn't really being pushed to save consumers money. This is about the commission's "net-zero energy" goals of having all new homes give back to electric grid as much as they take from it.

As it happens, there are policy steps that would both reduce energy consumption and lower the cost of housing—and also give people more living options not fewer. Namely, repeal restrictive land use laws that exclusively zone whole swaths of California's cities for energy-hungry single-family homes, as opposed to more energy efficient multi-family homes and apartment buildings.

About 49 percent of San Francisco's housing stock is made up of single family homes. In Los Angeles it's 57 percent. In San Jose a full three-quarters of homes are detached single family units.

This is a problem for those interested in energy efficiency. According to a 2009 U.S. Energy Information Administration survey, households in multi-family buildings consumed roughly half the energy of a single-family households. Nationwide, single-family homes made up less than 70 percent of total housing units but were responsible for 80 percent of residential energy consumption.

The California legislature considered a bill this year that would have allowed for more energy-efficient, multi-family housing by upzoning residential plots near transit stops. The bill in question, SB 827, was quickly killed, in part by the opposition of environmental groups such as the Sierra Club, who argued that it would make development just a little too easy.

Instead, the Sierra Club has thrown its weight behind the solar panel mandate. For too many activists, government restrictions will always trump property rights when pursuing environmental goals.

Photo Credit: Aprescindere/Dreamstime.com

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • esteve7||

    If the idea is so good, why does the state have to mandate it?

  • Longtobefree||

    Because you are too damn stupid to figure it out!
    (And because you do not donate to democrats, and the solar panel sellers do)

  • albo||

    "Government subsidies can be critically analyzed according to a simple principle: You are smarter than the government, so when the government pays you to do something you wouldn't do on your own, it is almost always paying you to do something stupid"
    PJ O'Rourke

  • Griffin3||

    Do solar cell installations last 30 years? Really? I see the batteries have to be replaced every 10-15 years.

    Here in the Florida regions, most roofs won't last 30 years.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Shouldn't really need batteries in California; According to my brother, who lives there, and was looking into installing solar, you're required to have it hooked up so that the solar power is unavailable if you're disconnected from the grid.

    Sounds insane, but, California.

  • ||

    Well, in fairness, we do have the interests of state-sanctioned public utility monopolies to support, and if you go so carbon-neutral that you don't even need a grid at all, and thus can't be billed for connecting to one, well . . . let's just say there's only so green we really need to be.

  • cc2||

    My last roof lasted 18 years. Do you take them off and put them back on? I'm sure that isn't expensive /sarc.
    Also, fire departments hate them. The firemen can get electrocuted if they go up there.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Then you've got the huge bank of batteries, and the inverter and sys

  • Elias Fakaname||

    ........System management components that cost big bucks. I should know, I used to sell the stuff.

  • ||

    Not that I agree with the mandate, but why the hell would you do this to single-family homes? Warehouses, strip malls, and industrial parks have acres upon acres of relatively unbroken roof-space (and keep business hours, have designated building managers, etc.). Why would you do this on structures that generally have a footprint well less than 2,500 sq. ft.?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Wokeness embiggens the smallest property!

  • colorblindkid||

    Solar panels on residential roofs are at least 3X less cost efficient than just using that money to build a medium-sized commercial plant. At least there are places in California where it makes sense climate-wise.
    In New Jersey we have all these incentives, but we live in one of the least efficient geographical regions for solar power. It takes over a decade to even make up for the carbon dioxide it took to produce and transport the solar panel.

  • ||

    Solar panels on residential roofs are at least 3X less cost efficient than just using that money to build a medium-sized commercial plant.

    Sure, but I could see enviro-freaks and watermelons not wanting to spoil unused lands and wanting to feel clever about having found some unused gray space to fuck with. But residential roofs are generally smaller, more sloped, and less accessible. It makes less than no sense.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Why would you do this on structures that generally have a footprint well less than 2,500 sq. ft.?

    Because there's no understanding in the environmental movement just how little energy per sq ft. you can derive from photovoltaic.

  • colorblindkid||

    Most PV cells are made in China, with raw materials from environmentally disastrous mines that poison rivers. The factories are still largely powered with dirty coal. Then, we spend a shit ton of CO2 shipping them over here. 15 years later, the financial and CO2 cost breaks even, until 5 years later when the panel's lifespan ends and it has to be recycled or thrown out, leading to more CO2 and more garbage.

    Nuclear is and always has been, by at least an order of magnitude, the most efficient (although, currently not financially) means of electricity. Enviros who oppose it are fucking idiots.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    I believe the answer is "not any more" because the low-priced Chinese solar panels were driving the expensive (*and* subsidized!) American solar panel factories out of business; yeh, that's what Solyndra was, a victim of the dastardly Chinese!

    I looked briefly into solar panels. The simple answer was no way. The slightly more involved answer was calling olar City and a couple of others. The answer in all cases was that I might save $10-15/month. And that's with a fantastic southern exposure, but making no allowance for 4 feet of snow in the winter.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    that's what Solyndra was, a victim of the dastardly Chinese!

    I thought Solyndra was a victim of vaporware and Silicon Valley thinking.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    I thought Solyndra existed to victims mine the American taxpayers under the direction of Barack Obama.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Most of the materials that make up PV are inert: Glass, steel, aluminum, silicon, copper.

    You are correct that the manufacturing used to make solar panels are powered by fossil fuels. The main toxic byproduct of solar panel manufacturing is silicon tetrachloride which can be recycled. Some companies in China are dumping silicon tetrachloride into rivers because it requires heating to 1800F to recycle it and that adds tot he costs of the manufacturer.

    Solar is one of the best techs for power and will only get better as there is more demand. Solar panels require almost no mechanical maintenance for residential systems and minor service like keeping the glass clean.

    Nuclear is a great power sources except that any leaks result in radiation exposure of an area and can last for 50k years +. Nuclear power's time has past except for nuclear submarines.

    With all that being said, I do not think government should be forcing anyone to buy anything.

  • Illocust||

    So you have to heat it to 1800F and keep it there for how long? How much energy does this take? What is the source of said energy? We need to take that at of the environmental savings.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Can you do that with solar panels? How many watts does it take to heat that crap up to 1800f?

  • Elias Fakaname||

    "Nuclear is a great power sources except that any leaks result in radiation exposure of an area and can last for 50k years +. Nuclear power's time has past except for nuclear submarines."

    Leaks do have the benefit of turning us all into incredible hulks.

  • Ariki||

    There is very little understanding in the environmental movement of science.
    At least outside of the science of gender studies and stupidity.

  • My Dog Bites Better Than Yours||

    Because commercial businesses donate to the local politicians.

  • albo||

    LA, the home to the most powerful of the environmentalists, is a basin surrounded by huge, empty hills facing west just waiting for solar panels. Cover every inch of their sides with them.

    Hmmm... I wonder why this won't happen?

  • Ron||

    not to mention the Tree cover over individual houses but thats okay I'm sure the state will just mandate tree removal which in a way they do already for fire reasons. of course they ignore the fact that if we didn't want trees we would live in the desert

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Oh don't worry, it will all become a desert.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    "in a state where the median home price already stands at roughly $529,460, according to the California Association of Realtors. The U.S. average, by comparison, is about $268,546."

    I'd like to see that normalized to a cost/sq foot for a more direct comparison taking differences in local rules on house sizes.

  • ||

    I'd like to see that normalized to a cost/sq foot for a more direct comparison taking differences in local rules on house sizes.

    My money says you'd see an even bigger gap - i.e. in CA you're paying more and getting less square footage.

  • albo||

    My cousin's $500K home in the Highland Park neighborhood of LA is 1,100 square feet on a tiny plot of land.

  • bvandyke||

    an average $500K house close to me (South East of Houston) is 3000+ sq feet.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Same in Spokane. You also typically get a reasonable sized lot, even in town. Go 15 minutes out of town and you can get the same house on 5-10 acres with decent tree coverage.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    That would be my suspicion also, but it's a fairer comparison unless you select a specific size house and price it across each area, but again, given variations in zoning rules on house sizes, that could be quite difficult to do.

  • Sevo||

    http://www.businessinsider.com/us-
    city-real-estate-price-chart-2014-3
    4 years out of date; double SF $/sq.ft.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    Learn to do HTML links

    Here's a working link City real estate price chart 2014


    With a median list price of $666 per square foot, San Francisco's real estate boom...

    I just knew it, San Fancisco is an evil, evil place. :)

  • Sevo||

    "Learn to do HTML links"

    No thanks.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    Stop posting broken links anyway.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    The commission estimates that consumers will net $16,500 in savings over the span of 30 years.

    Which would be awesome if it took into account the fact that you'll be replacing the entire system well before that.

  • Longtobefree||

    If that amount is as reliable as the high speed train estimates - - - - - - - -

  • ||

    If that amount is as reliable as the high speed train estimates - - - - - - - -

    The power will be less reliable than the already expensive and unreliable California power grid. So, you'll be paying more for less power, but it will be $16K cheaper over the course of 30 yrs. than what you would've paid.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Assuming no other prices change over that span of time.
    That's why we need sustainability — freeze everything the way it is today, so we can make forecasts and reduce uncertainty in our plans for how you should live.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    You'll certainly have replaced the deep cycle batteries a dozen times during that period.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Individual consumers are certainly fallible, but they usually are in the best position to make decisions about what expenses make sense for them.

    WRONG. The infallible state is the best entity to determine which choices are insignificant enough to allow the options up to the individual.

  • Longtobefree||

    What is the carbon footprint of the manufacture and transportation of a house full of solar panels?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The toxic chemicals produced in the manufacture of them more than makes up for it.

  • Jerryskids||

    I was told I can save $450 per year on my electric bill by installing solar panels on my roof. Assuming I increase their efficiency by cutting down the big shade trees around my house which decrease my electric bill by roughly twice that amount.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Obviously, the correct choice is to cut down those trees, in the interest of saving the environment.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Almost my entire electricity bill is covered by my solar system even on moderately cloudy days. I even am able to sell electricity back to the power company because I almost always produce a surplus.

    At night my small wind turbine covers nighttime electricity usage and keeps the batteries charged.

    The main problem is battery storage. Batteries need to get better and will as more demand for them happens.

    Its also fun to have a fully powered house when everyone in the neighborhood has their power go out.

    The USA has massive amounts of copper and steel wasted on cross-country power grids as well as electricity loss over that same grid's long distances. Let Americans keep more of their money by having micro-grids of solar powered residential and business systems.

  • Ariki||

    If your selling electricity back to the grid you are leaching off those who cant afford solar panels.
    You are also making electricity more expensive for those people.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I get less in credit than the power company charges to other people.

    In other words, the power company gets cheaper electricity than what they are selling electricity for.

  • Illocust||

    Are you paid the same amount as the power company pays other sources? Or are you being payed an amount set by the state to make it look better in their advertisements. Because if its the latter, you aren't being paid, you are receiving a subsidy from everyone else on the system.

  • ||

    The toxic chemicals don't stop being toxic once the manufacturing process is complete. Repair, disposal, and/or recycling is going chip away at the carbon footprint too.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    By recycling, you mean your trash makes one extra stop between your house and the landfill?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    That extra stop is a facility where a Chinese guy looks at it and then shakes his head.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    You have no idea how true that is.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I do, actually, because my local paper won't stop running stories about it.

  • LynchPin1477||

    This will solve the affordable housing problem for sure!

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    Sure, if the problem is too much affordable housing.

  • Jerryskids||

    Individuals face a lot of trade-offs with their money. Blithely assuming that some government-imposed saving measure is worth it for them is the height of arrogance completely normal for our moral and intellectual superiors in government.

    If you're so damn smart, how come you're not the one issuing the diktats, Mr. Smarty Pants?

  • CE||

    If the government is so smart, why don't they enough nuclear plants and desalination plants online yet?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Exhibit 42,956 why environmentalism is a political movement, not a scientific one.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Barbra Streisand doesn't much care about an extra $10,000 on the price of a home. The guy selling roses on the 405 doesn't much care about an extra $10,000 on the price of a home. Guess who does?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Jimmy McMillan?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    The Solar Panels are Too Damned High... meh, I had something for this...

  • Sevo||

    CLAP! CLAP! CLAP!
    The "protection"/"rejection" rhyme is inspired!

  • Len Bias||

    As far as I can tell, the goal of progs in California is to drive out the middle class. They lack the sophistication of the upper classes, and aren't as noble as the poor: Besides, we don't want them to be able to take care of themselves.

  • Calidissident||

    A $6,000 gain on a $10,500 investment over 30 years is an awful rate of return. That's not even taking into account the interest paid on that extra money over the course of the mortgage. And according to an article I linked on this last week, a company that installs these estimates the cost is actually about $15,000 for solar, and $10-15k for other new energy standards. They do claim that these save $50-60k in reduced operating costs over 25 years - but if you do the math, that's still a really bad return, especially accounting for extra mortgage costs.

  • CE||

    1.52 percent a year? Since 30 year T bonds pay 3.1 percent, yeah, that's a bad deal. Especially since the 10.5K will be rolled into the mortgage at 4.4 percent interest.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    mortgage at 4.4 percent interest.

    If you're lucky. President Carter might be considering another run, you know.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    $16,500 over 30 years netted by solar panels?

    Who wouldn't gladly fork over $10,000 now to get $45 a month back? Name one person.

  • Calidissident||

    And as I pointed out, even most of that gets offset by higher interest on the mortgage (not to mention property taxes, homeowners insurance, and PMI would all increase if the property value went up).

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Look, we're saving the planet, one homeowner at a time.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Name one person.

    Sorry, Reason.com has a 1500 character reply limit, and there are millions of people.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I have a solar system and save more than $45 per month.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I really think that solar tech is cool... and have always been interested, but the cost savings/roi simply isn't there. It definitely isn't there in my neck of the woods, so I guess I would have to know what your specific circumstances were-- what's your latitude, sun exposure, how much your installation costs, how many watts your system can produce/store per day/hour. How much your system costs to maintain, how old it is, what you're powering, # of persons in the household, what your lifestyle looks like.

    Sorry, I'm just skeptical.

    I did see an interesting setup of a guy in NJ who used the solar to produce hydrogen through electrolysis, but then at the tail end of his whitepaper, he indicated he had geothermal in addition to solar.

  • ||

    I guess I would have to know what your specific circumstances were

    And this is why such mandates are always doomed to fail at their stated purpose. There are lots of places in CA where solar is viable, but only just barely. There are lots of places in the far north of CA where it's not quite so viable. Which is why such decisions should always be made by the actual property owner.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Another point to ponder is "tax credit". If you're calculating your tax credit into the cost, that's good for you, but not the community.

    For an average 6kW system, a price of $3.14/W means you'll pay approximately $18,840 before tax credits and rebates in 2018.

    So the real price of a 6kw system is nearly $20,000. You'd have to save a dizzying amount of money per month to make that ROI in any reasonable time.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    10. When will your home solar system reach the "break-even point"?
    Many homeowners are very interested in calculating their solar panel payback period, which is the amount of time it will take for electric bill savings to offset the cost of solar panel installation. The expected breakeven point ranges across the country, but on average, U.S. homeowners break even on their system cost after 7.5 years.

    So the average homeowner saves $222 a month on a solar installation? I find that very hard to believe.

  • ||

    I don't even spend that on power, so it would be hard for me to conceive how it could save me that much.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Clearly, your energy rates arefar too low.

  • Illocust||

    Yeah, I powers a two story condo at between 65 and 70 degrees in the middle of a Texas summer for $120 at most. $222 is an unbelievably high amount of savings, and would require a frankly ridiculous amount of energy usage.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    In most solar installations I've seen (and trust me, I really, really want to like Solar and get off the grid) there's always a major "gotcha" when someone says it covers "all their energy needs".

    Like their hot water tank, heat and oven/stove are all gas, so they're really just running a few lightbulbs, a TV and the occasional use of a microwave.

    I have no doubt you could probably get a few solar panels to cover that.

    Also, I live in a house that's almost 100 years old, it's poorly insulated and drafty.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Assuming the expected working lifetime of solar panels is 30 thirty years.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    The rest of the equipment won't last that long, and it's the really expensive part.

  • Rich||

    Exceptions would be made for smaller houses and for shade-covered roofs

    FTS! Mandate large houses and sunny roofs!

  • Sevo||

    "Exceptions would be made for smaller houses and for shade-covered roofs"
    Adding to the 'soft costs' in getting permits for construction.

  • Ron||

    they are actually talking about making it a code to build only on the south side of hills for maximum solar benifit and the mandated energy compliance models gives bonuses for south facing. the stupid of this is i like living on the north face so that i don't have to run air conditioning in the summer which is more costly than heating

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Regulators also claim the costs won't matter because the mandate will actually save you money. The commission estimates that consumers will net $16,500 in savings over the span of 30 years.

    The regulators are not exactly a disinterested party. When you combine that with the government's terrible track record at estimating costs and benefits, I wouldn't be counting those particular chickens before they hatch.

  • Rich||

    The commission estimates that consumers will net $16,500 in savings over the span of 30 years.

    And I estimate that, in 30 years, $16,500 will buy a nice -- well, an *OK* -- bicycle.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    A used Huffy with the front wheel potato-chipped all to hell.

  • Rich||

    But wait till you see the paths you can ride it on!

  • Citizen X - #6||

    In California, a bike path for a man is but a cafeteria line for a puma.

  • Illocust||

    That return on investment argument is pretty brilliant. It's a simple way to put it that anyone can conceptualize. If I were to sock away the extra money you want me to spend in the stockmarket, will your projected "savings" match it? If not, that a really poor investment of my money on my part.

  • albo||

    California is just $10,500 per homeowner away from a Utopia on Earth!

  • Ariki||

    Yay utopia! Where everyone lives in the dark!

  • Elias Fakaname||

    We could fix a lot of problems with the following plan:

    1. Round up all the progs and put them in calms.
    2. Harvest all their organs for resale.
    3. Big profits!

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    The California Energy Commission is expected to vote today on

    Wait, did I read something wrong here?

    If I read this correctly, they voted, it's done. Passed.

    Oh wait, nvm, I'll leave the link but the commission votes "yes" now they need the backing from Building Standards Commission.

    They still need backing from the state's Building Standards Commission. The state updates its building codes, including energy efficiency standards, every three years.

    Wow, California government is really awful.

  • Rich||

    The state updates its building codes, including energy efficiency standards, every three years.

    "Looks like you're gonna need new panels, Jack."

  • Ron||

    the building commission is all for this and has been planning this for years they are also planning on mandating all homes be net zero energy by 2050. I'll be dead by then or in an old folks home so I won't care anymore

  • Rich||

    Exceptions would be made for ... shade-covered roofs

    Putting solar panels on the roof covers it with shade! Exception!

  • No Longer Amused||

    As always, follow the money.

    You will most certainly find out who has been paid off and fully in the pocket of solar panel manufacturers.

  • Headache||

    And the bankers.

  • Ron||

    as a building designer I can tell you the cost will be twice what they predict.

  • Ariki||

    Yep, and the performance will be half.

  • Sevo||

    And the holes which pierce the membrane will leak after 10 years...
    Seriously, I'm putting a new roof on a building and want it done NOW before this becomes a mandate for all re-roofing jobs.

  • RandomWalk||

    The 30 year payback projection is probably also based on net metering which is effectively a massive subsidy from all the other rate-payers. It's a subsidy because the solar net metering customers get to sell their energy to the grid at noon for the same price at which they buy it back at midnight. There's no consideration for the cost of the grid and the base load capability that makes that possible. Net metering is not likely to last. Without it, the mandated solar installations will likely have a negative rate of return. And that's even before the other valid points like cost overruns and rate of return lower than mortgage rates are taken into account.

  • Ariki||

    ^ This.

    It ain't green unless your 100% off grid.
    Anything else is a subsidy by the poor to the wealthy.
    The irony of the marxist greens.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Nothing is 100% green.

    Solar just provides a near infinite source of electricity during daylight and massively less power loss because electricity is created right near its usage area. Once batteries get better, that efficiency will go up.

    All other fossil fuels have to be collected, shipped, and burned with losses along the way. Then the electricity generated is sent over power lines which results in more losses.

    Strategically, a micro-grid is easier to protect from enemy attack and keep working than long distance power grids.

  • Illocust||

    Until a hail storm hits, and suddenly people are without power for weeks, as there is a massive shortage on repair supplies.

  • emkcams||

    "Regulators also claim the costs won't matter because the mandate will actually save you money."

    Coming from the government, this will most surely never happen. Obama said the same thing about the ACA and prices have gone up significantly.

  • MichaeI Hihn||

    If we just assume every law does the opposite of what it claims, it might be more efficient.

  • Derp-o-Matic 6000||

    If you like your fossil fuels, you can keep your fossil fuels. Period.

  • MichaeI Hihn||

    This homeless crisis sure sprang up out of no where, eh guys? Man. What's up with that.

  • cc2||

    "consumers will net $16,500 in savings over the span of 30 years" this is only if the panels last 30 years, but they are more likely to last only 10. It is like the benefit of an electric car is always calculated without needing to replace the batteries.
    Oh, and don't ever take economic calculations from a do-gooder. He'll try to sell you a bullet train...for your own good.

  • Sevo||

    "He'll try to sell you a bullet train...for your own good."

    The budget for moonbeam's choo-choo has $0.00 allocated to maintenance. It is to be the first self-healing choo-choo on the planet.

  • Richard Rider||

    EVERY government passenger train -- heavy or light -- has the same magic maintenance formula. Zero funding for maintenance -- let alone equipment replacement.

    The "fare box" revenue almost never covers the OPERATING costs -- usually MUCH less than is needed to run the train system.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    So, the dark soul of Christine will inhabit all the trains? What could possibly go wrong?

  • Headache||

    With a mountain of evidence, this just adds to that mountain, the California legislature knows nothing about finance.

    Adding 10500 to a 30 year @ 4%, will add 18000 to the loan value, creating net loss of 1546.

    go here https://www.mortgagecalculator.org/

    use 538000 first then 548500.

  • Miter Broller||

    Why $10,500? If net-zero is the goal, then how does a flat rate increase take care of that when there are houses of various sizes with different levels of power consumption? Will the new owners have to pay for annual inspections to make sure their panels are hooked up and in compliance? Thanks, but no thanks.

  • frankania||

    I installed a 600 watt panel on my off-the-grid house here in the mountains of Mexico, about 10 years ago, and she is still producing...it cost me about $1000 including 4 batteries and all the controllers, etc. We now use it as a back-up source, in case of municipal power failure...

  • Richard Rider||

    In CA, it's illegal to have a solar array connected to the electric grid that you can turn off and use locally during power outages. It's either on the grid, or completely off the grid.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Just ignore the law. Democrats appear to have no respect for the rule of law anyway..

  • Richard Rider||

    Solar works in many instances, but it should not be mandatory. CA homes on the coast often get too much "onshore flow" (too much fog and clouds) to make solar cost-effective. Plus they use less power anyway with moderate climate (most don't have A/C -- the main "peak power" factor).

    Moreover, if everyone has solar, the effective cost of consumer electricity will drop to zero in the 10AM to 4PM timeframe, with wasted excess capacity. It's too expensive to save electricity -- and often too far and expensive to transfer to other states.

    Solar doesn't help on cloudy days so power plants have to be built and on standby (ask Germany). And of course, solar doesn't provide useful power from at least an hour before sunset to an hour or more after sunrise.

    Doesn't help that imported solar panels now carry a 30% tariff.

  • TJJ2000||

    IRONY; Giving CA legislation enough communistic power to demand 33% Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) resulting in increasing electrical charges by more than 85% over the last 25-years. Then mandating on the CONSUMER similar legislation under the hype of "it'll be cheaper".

  • perlchpr||

    Regulators also claim the costs won't matter because the mandate will actually save you money. The commission estimates that consumers will net $16,500 in savings over the span of 30 years.

    Does that factor in the interest paid over 30 years on that initial $10,500?

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online