California will require solar panels on all new homes. That’s not necessarily a good thing.

The California Energy Commission (CEC) recently voted 5-0 to add some new provisions to the state’s building code. Among them is the requirement that as of 2020, all new house and multi-family residences of three stories or fewer, along with all major renovations, must be built with solar panels.

Where solar is not suitable, homeowners must have access to a community solar project or receive efficiency upgrades that compensate. (There are some exceptions for buildings in highly shaded areas.)

Solar on most new houses! This might seem like an obviously good thing. Solar is great; solar panels are cool; California is leading the climate resistance.

But among energy nerds, the mandate has caused much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth. They’ve been debating it all week on Twitter — on one hand, on the other; by now there are so many hands that I must confess to paralyzing ambivalence.

So let’s walk through some of the pros and cons and see if we can draw some kind of conclusion.

For the full opinion piece, click here

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