Mandating to

The California Energy Commission is scheduled to vote Wednesday on new energy standards mandating most new homes have solar panels starting in 2020.If approved as expected, solar installations on new homes will skyrocket.Just 15 percent to 20 percent of new single-family homes built include solar, according to Bob Raymer, technical director for the California Building Industry Association.“California is about to take a quantum leap in energy standards,” Raymer said.“No other state in the nation mandates solar, and we are about to take that leap.” Locally, the cities of San Francisco and Fremont have already leaped ahead of the curve.

Among the highlights: The mandate dates back to 2007 when the state energy commission adopted the goal of making homebuilding so efficient “newly constructed buildings can be net zero energy by 2020 for residences and by 2030 for commercial buildings.” Builders would prefer the state move slower in imposing the solar mandate, but most nonetheless should be prepared by mid-2020, said the Building Industry Association’s Raymer.

Bill Watt, a homebuilder and design consultant, said those added costs – on top of other building mandates like fire sprinklers – are pushing home prices further out of reach for many buyers.

Environmentalists, however, praised the new standards. “The technology is developing so fast, we think the timeline was a bit slow,” said Kathryn Phillips, director of Sierra Club California.

The western boundary is defined by a line beginning at the western edge of Mc Gulpin Point in the Lower Peninsula to the western edge of an unnamed island immediately southwest of Point La Barbe in the Upper Peninsula. “Anchor strikes in the Straits of Mackinac represent a clear and present danger to the people and natural resources of Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula,” said state Rep. “I believe this Emergency Rule should be permanent.

Let there be no confusion: From this day forward, dropping anchor in the Straits will be an illegal act and should be treated with the full weight of the law.

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