Our take on new solar building rules

Our take on new solar building rules

Starting in 2020, new residential buildings must be outfitted with solar panels, according to new rules adopted by state officials at the California Energy Commission in May.

State officials estimate the change will add 65,000 new solar systems each year; an average homeowner on a 30-year mortgage will pay $40 a month more, but save $80 a month on electricity. All existing structures -- 80% of all homes and businesses -- are not affected by the rules.

Our take: Overall, this is a positive move that will expand solar access to more consumers in a cost-effective manner.

However, home builders must be held accountable for installing durable solar systems and providing new homeowners with clear information about the terms of their solar systems, and how to access customer service when needed.

And, the latest attempt by the utilities to seize control over rooftop solar suggests that a Solar Bill of Rights is needed to guarantee these new solar owners lifelong control over their electricity.

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