Solar panels now mandatory for California homes

California regulators in May mandated that all newly built single family houses have solar panels as  part of the state’s aggressive push to combat climate change. The California Energy Commission voted 5-0 to approve the measure, which also applies to multifamily buildings of three stories and fewer. The mandate is set to take effect in 2020 and does not need the approval of the Legislature. The requirement is expected to save consumers money in the long run through reduced utility bills, but also makes a new house more expensive to purchase at a time when many families already struggle to purchase a mortgage. In addition to the solar mandate, the Commission approved new insulation and air filter requirements for newly built homes. In all, the new residential requirements are expected to raise construction costs for a single family house an average of $9,500, but save $19,000 in reduced utility bills over a 30-year period, according to the Energy Commission.

Smart meter adoption growing on international level

By 2024, nearly 250 million smart meters will be installed in 50 emerging market countries backed by an investment totaling $34.7 billion, according to a report by the Northeast Group,. Smart meter investment has been led by the European Union which set a target years ago to achieve 80% market saturation. Now, other emerging market countries in Latin America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia are following suit.

Renewable energy costs could match traditional sources by 2020

According to a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency, the cost of producing electricity from renewable energy resources could be comparable with traditional resources by 2020. The group highlights the cost of onshore wind power has fallen dramatically since 2010 alongside solar photovoltaics, the cost of which has drop by 73% during the same period.

ACEEE claims Trump budget harms energy efficiency

In a recent press release the American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy, a national non-profit advocate for energy efficiency, called the Trump administration’s proposed budget for energy efficiency “a bad sequel” to the budget proposed in 2017. The group states that the budget will dramatically cut funding to weatherize low-income homes, as well as slash funding by 70% for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Credits available for solar energy produced by utility customers

Austin Energy, a large community-owned utility in Texas, recently unveiled the first utility-run program in the country to help support commercial customers adopt solar power technology. The “Value of Solar Rate” compensates customers with a credit based on their solar energy production, whether it’s used by the customer or pumped back into the grid.