SolarCraft workers Craig Powell (left) and Edwin Neal install solar panels on the roof of a home on Feb. 26, 2015, in San Rafael, California.

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SolarCraft workers Craig Powell (left) and Edwin Neal install solar panels on the roof of a home on Feb. 26, 2015, in San Rafael, California.

California already has one of the frothiest housing prices in the nation, a condition that could get even worse with the new solar mandate.

Jimmy Pethokoukis, an economic policy analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, said the mandate will only hurt California homeowners who can’t afford the upgrade in an already saturated housing market.

“This is great for wealthier homeowners, but for everybody else it’s one more reason to not go to California or to leave ASAP,” Pethokoukis told CNBC last week.

Homes built before 2020 will likely add solar panels as well, as buyers begin expecting this as a feature in homes, Hoskins said, making solar energy a more common luxury.

Companies like Sunrun are offering an alternative to the upfront installation costs they hope will lessen the burden for customers who experience sticker-shock of installation fees.

The option to lease solar panels such as Sunrun’s solar as a service lets the company own the system and offer a production guarantee, a lease so homeowners can have access to the energy while the company takes care of the system and maintains it.

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