Yesterday, the California Energy Commission approved a program requiring all new residential single-family and some multifamily structures, to have rooftop solar panels beginning in 2020.
Local experts are split on the program's merits. Jimmy Pethokoukis, economic policy analyst at the American Enterprise Institute and self-proclaimed "escapee of Los Angeles and California," says that the state's legislators should be focusing on bringing down the cost of living, and that this new requirement will put a financial burden on lower-income residents. Kelly Knutsen, director of technology advancement at the California Solar & Storage Association, took another view, saying, "Low-income families spend proportionally more on their energy bills than anybody else," and that the program will be a great investment at all income levels, CNBC reports.
The California Energy Commission estimated the panels will tack on approximately $9,500 in additional construction fees but save homeowners $19,000 in energy bills over the course of 30 years. The commission estimates that the panels will cost residential homeowners about $40 a month, but save them about $80 a month on things like heat, air conditioning and lighting bills.