Analysis: California’s Solar Panel Mandate Lowers CO2 Emissions by 0.32%

By Elizabeth Harrington

California will mandate solar panels on new homes out of concern for climate change, a policy that will raise prices in the most expensive home market in the country and does little to decrease the state’s carbon footprint.

The five-member board of the California Energy Commission unanimously issued an edict Wednesday requiring all new homes to either be installed with solar panels or share solar power in a group system. The rules go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

The New York Times called California a “trendsetter” for the move but expressed surprise that such a costly rule would be approved outside the legislative process by the commission with “little debate.”

“It will add thousands of dollars to the cost of home when a shortage of affordable housing is one of California’s most pressing issues,” the Times reported. “That made the relative ease of its approval—in a unanimous vote by the five-member California Energy Commission before a standing-room crowd, with little debate—all the more remarkable.”

“The requirement is expected to add $8,000 to $12,000 to the cost of a home,” the Times added.

The costs come to consumers already in a market where the median price of a single-family home is $565,000, one of the highest in the nation, the Wall Street Journal reported.

MIT Technology Review reported requiring every new home to have solar panels is a “feel-good change” that is both expensive and does little to reduce carbon emissions.

“A solar panel on every house might sound good, but it isn’t smart climate policy,” said James Temple, writing for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology magazine.

The “big problem” is cost, Temple said, citing Severin Borenstein, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Rooftop solar panels are a “much more expensive way of increasing renewables on the grid,” costing between 12.9 and 16.7 cents per kilowatt-hour, more than twice the cost of utility-scale solar systems, according to the report.

“By demonstrating a very expensive way to reduce greenhouse gases, I think this could very likely be used in other states and countries as an argument against moving towards renewable energy,” Borenstein said.

The California Energy Commission claims the added costs to homes will be more than made up for in energy savings. If they save on electricity bills, however, it will be because customers who do not have solar panels are subsidizing them.

The savings are “effectively subsidized by other ratepayers without solar panels, net metering, and solar tax credits,” according to Borenstein.

Furthermore, MIT reported emissions reduced by the government mandate would not make much of a difference for the state’s carbon footprint.

“California estimates that the new rule will cut emissions by 1.4 million metric tons over three years, which is a small fraction of the 440 million tons the state generated in 2015,” the report said.

Emissions would be reduced by 0.32 percent.

Full story at the Free Beacon

183 thoughts on “Analysis: California’s Solar Panel Mandate Lowers CO2 Emissions by 0.32%

    • +20
      CO2 emissions will be generated in the mfg and install trip to replace the equipment.

      • The .32 is the simple arithmetic. It doesn’t count the mining, manufacture, transportation, or installation.
        This is clearly a net loss.

      • The actual savings is only 1/3rd the level mentioned by the author. She’s comparing 3 years of savings vs. only one year of total production.

    • Question is… will there be a fine for turning off, disconnecting, or leaving ‘broken’ one’s mandated solar panel system?
      Because the answer (if not) is easy: use it until it fails. Then if its fuse or circuit breaker blows, … fuggetaboutit.
      I mean, to me, it seems that simple.
      But, if there’s a fine, if Big Brother is watching, monitoring
      Its worse. Dystopian.

    • If the panels actually work well — not how I’d bet — the homeowner will pay for the repairs. If not, He/she will likely have to bring the system “up to code” if/when the house is sold.

  1. Does the savings in emissions include emissions created in the full manufacturing process for the panels?
    Reminiscent of the real emission numbers for electric cars I assume……
    I wonder what capacity factor they used for the PV panels also?

    • The savings doesn’t even exceed the additional cost – in CO2 – of official government inspectors driving (one per car please) to make all the inspections and certifications necessary. The inspectors will NOT get to drive electric cars because those won’t go far enough!

  2. Newly available technology from Cyclone Power Technology [] has developed a generator system that can provide 15Kw to 1.5Mw using solar power 24/7 even on a cloudy day. Solar collectors for the 15Kw unite only requires 500 ft². It does not require any battery backup. No electric bill ever again.

    • William Heritage
      Just a question.
      What happens to the electricity generated, and not used, when people are at work?

      • The system runs on demand. Your query is one reason why it would be ideal for co-generation

      • And when the demand is at 1 0’clock in the morning (when the sun isn’t out yet for several hours)? (remember, no battery backup required)

      • They actually have a lot of answers to the questions you guys are asking on the website. The only one they don’t answer: will one ever be built? Several contracts were given them, but after 9 years, there have been no deliveries – of the Mark V. Like Bill said, not even a working prototype. They have a lot of difficulties to overcome – not the least of which is lubrication.
        Right now, it looks as good as a home-scale fusion reactor-powered electricity.
        I live in the country – off the grid. I’d love one of these. But they don’t exist.

      • It will provide enough heat to run the system for 5 days without direct sunlight, however it does utilizes the sun’s UV to make heat during the day. It is an AC generator therefore no inverter or batteries required.

    • Putting aside the question of it not actually being built, how exactly do you generate solar power “24/7” while “not require(ing) any battery backup” when the sun doesn’t shine 24/7. No sun = no solar power.

      • What they are claiming they can build is a small steam engine with incredibly high efficiency.
        They either store heat from the sun to drive the motor on demand or burn something when the sun is not shining.
        So either a big tank of hot liquid or fuel required.
        All this should they ever manage to build one.

      • It will have to be a big tank of something very hot to produce high pressure steam for five days. As yet thermal solar plants have had a very hard time to make it through one night without auxiliary power.
        Hint: What was it P T Barnum said was born every day.

    • Let me guess. If we order in the next 30 minutes, we get a free set of steak knives, right?

    • 15 kW at 20 percent efficiency, assuming full 100 percent bright sunlight at Los Angeles, requires 725 sq feet. Enough additional to account for night should at least make that four times bigger, likely quite a bit more. So the label capacity is already not cutting it. Also, I don’t believe a turnkey sort of system is going to operate at 1000 psi and 1000 degrees F for any significant time.

      • Assume the unit actually works as advertised.
        Assume the unit cost is $50,000 (Present value).
        Now let us assume the average home has a $2,400/year ($200/month) electricity bill.
        Break even is more than $20 years. (Even without adjusting for inflation and future value of that $50,000.
        And the unit almost certainly would require regular maintenance and the expected design life of such a system operating at those temps and pressures is probably 10 years or less.

      • This appears to me to a constitutionally problematic “taking” without just compensation if they require the private homeowner to pay to maintain it and to supply the excess power back to the public grid.
        – Why can’t the new homeowner remove it and sell it back to contractor to recoup his cost?
        – Why couldn’t the home builder buy the system to re-install on a new home to pass inspection?
        – Will the state pay the homeowner to perform necessary maintenance on it? If so, that’s an appropriation from the state treasury that a 5 member commission cannot impose.
        – What if it gets damaged by a storm. Does the homeowner have to replace it? What if he/she doesn’t? Remember: The home built in 2019 (and maybe even right next door) won’t have to have this system.

      • “This appears to me to a constitutionally problematic “taking” without just compensation ” Joel
        California has a takings clause. It also has a Coastal Commission with a long history of dictating to people what they can, can’t, must do with their property.. As a result, there’s presumably a lot of case law to draw on. My impression is that yes, the state most certainly can tell you to put solar panels on the structures you are building and they can tell the buyer of the property to keep them in good repair. On the other hand, I’m not a lawyer and maybe I have it wrong.

    • William Heritage
      This is another pie in the sky scheme which hasn’t been built; the calculations for its output are theoretical; there is clearly no money behind it to take it beyond the theory stage; and whilst this type of thing may work in Florida, have you any idea how little sun there is in Northern Europe during the winter months when this would be most in demand?
      Five days between periods of sunlight would be lovely, we can go weeks without seeing the sun, very low in the sky, and for only a matter of 6 – 8 hours in 24, at best. If this engine can arrange sunlight every 5 days, I’ll have two.
      Nice try, but no coconut.

      • Undoubtedly it would not be ideal for all locations. However it has the ability to absorb and store heat produced by the sun’s UV rays, even on a cloudy day. As to another question that was asked about lubrication, it is maintained by the closed loop water used to generate the steam that powers the engine. At this point all I can say is stay tuned

        • William Heritage
          Which is all fine, except this thing isn’t even at pre production stage. The calculations are all theoretical, never mind the implementation.
          Look at what people are telling you.
          There are a million schemes out there, all saying the same thing. Somehow, none of them ever match up to their own hype.
          Wake up man.

      • at William Heritage
        May 11, 2018 at 11:45 am
        …. As to another question that was asked about lubrication, it is maintained by the closed loop water used to generate the steam that powers the engine. At this point all I can say is stay tuned
        High temperature high pressure water is not a lubricant, it is a corrosive.

    • William, I went to the website. Maybe I missed something but all it talked about was an internal combustion engine, a School Cycle engine. They did say it could run on almost any fuel but I saw nothing about solar.

      • Edwin
        Need to watch the video to discover all the theoretical wonders available from a steam engine.
        Mind you, I guess its a step further on from 14th Century wind turbine technology.

    • William Heritage, while there are some interesting aspects to Cyclone’s work, you’re WAY over the top on this (and so are they.)
      I have enough background to be able to quickly examine their presentation. (A friend has been developing another new form of combustion/engine for several decades. His is further along in some ways, with full EPA approval, yet still not on the market.)
      Bottom line up front: their system isn’t radically better than existing solar PV, let alone emerging solar PV.
      Here are some things to seriously consider:
      – NO they don’t have a magical way to store the energy overnight. They are proposing a “Thermal Storage Unit” using molten salt. That’s a well known technology used for large scale solar plants.
      * One of several challenges: it must be kept very hot (300C or more typically) or you’re in big trouble. So system maintenance during extended cloudy/stormy periods can be a big challenge. Here’s a company working to improve that technology… but it’s all on the high-temp side for better efficiency in large solar plants.
      * This storage is NOT cheap by any means. The biggest storage units hold 6 to 9 hour reserves. Enough for overnight YES! A week of clouds? NO.
      * At large scale, molten salt IS an attractive option and currently is beating out battery energy storage for grid-scale applications. But personal size? Cost efficient? It has not yet been invented.
      – Efficiency TANSTAAFL. Energy is energy. Energy conversion involves losses.
      a) Storing the heat in a TSU, then recovering it for use, introduces two conversion, each most likely around 95% efficiency at best.
      b) Cyclone’s generator is around 30% efficient. Today’s best solar cells are better than that: over 30% is getting cheap; 35-50% is on the horizon. There’s actually nothing special here to examine.
      – Insolation TANSTAAFL. Here’s a calculator by location, of available insolation.
      * Where I live in CO, December irradiance is 4.36 kWh/m2 per day (6.12 in June) with ideally angled heat collectory. So at 100% efficiency, in theory I could get 15kW 24/7 with (24*15)/6.12= 59 sq meters min of collector…or 83 max in December. That’s 635 to 883 square feet. But the system is less than 30% efficient (including storage) so that’s about 2100-3000 sq feet needed.
      * Going the other way, in 500 sq feet, 30% efficiency, and 6.12kWh/m2/day, you have a 2.5 to 3.5 kW system.
      – Maintenance TANSTAAFL. Everything requires maintenance of some kind. Even if water cooled and water lubricated.

      • 🙂 — William, have you read/listened to what Feynman actually said? I agree wholeheartedly, which is why your favorite expert at Cyclone is so easily challenged.
        Science goes after ideas and tears them into shreds. When we honestly look at reality and discover it doesn’t match our “expert” ideas… the “experts” keep looking to try to disprove the facts. (google: NOVA What Makes Science True)
        Feynman presents a simpler proposition: if the facts don’t match your idea, you’re WRONG. Period. Time to examine another idea.
        I gave you a bunch of facts. Cyclone’s energy storage idea isn’t new. Their solar collector idea isn’t new. Maintenance IS required. It requires more resources than they project. It’s not more efficient than other methods.
        That isn’t expert pontification, that’s the facts. Your guy is an expert and he’s welcome to his expertise, but not different facts.
        I believe he has a good idea for a new mode of combustion/engine/generator. Someday, I hope he finds a way to get it to market and beat out the competition. Just like my friend who has been working on the Variable Atmospheric Steam Turbine for a few decades.

  3. As solar requires total conventional backup, one must account for the cost of that as well.

      • If solar or wind is no a grid, it requires total backup. If all one is doing is recharging batteries, then perhaps not, if one can tolerate periods of little or no useful power.

      • William,
        We are talking about real systems, not fantasy. Get back to us when they have an actual prototype and some actual performance data.

      • Mr Heritage,
        Please stop with hustle. If that system had any hope of actually working, you wouldn’t need to hawk it on a blog. The world would come running to it.

      • Willie, this site has a bit too high a concentration of working engineers for us to believe this. Perhaps if you had a working prototype, we’d begin to believe you. However, you are coming across like a snake oil salesman who doesn’t know he’s at a medical convention.

      • It has fossil fuel backup according to the pitch.
        The only problem is that is doesn’t exist, after many years of development. It is still as real as excess fusion-powered electrical energy.

  4. I think they are doing it to try and offset their stupid mandate to close all the Nuclear plants in the state. It will be too little too late, and it’s proven that solar is more damaging to the plant than nuclear by far anyway. Short sighted, stupidity, viewed through green colored glasses Jerry Brown and Co.’s only play.

    • In fairness, California is a uniquely bad place for nuclear — combining periodic droughts that impact cooling water availability and roughly one zillion earthquake faults. Not only are not all the faults mapped, in most cases, it’s hard to tell if they might be active.
      Not that they’d build any nuclear plants even if the geology and climate were favorable.

      • Suggest you look into how US Nuclear Power Plants are built from the lowest level up. If I knew there was going to be a 9+ earthquake and I wanted to make sure I was going to survive it I would drive to the NPP I work at and stay there. The first shaking of the ground shuts down the plant. After that the plant is designed to withstand all seismic events and equipment loses. Theoretically the “fault” could run right under the center of the Containment Building, the earth could break open several feet wide directly under the Containment and the buildings on the plant will stay intact, like a ship floating on water. The number of people killed/injured by any fault in the plant would be minimal, if not ZERO, The number of people in the surrounding KILLED by the earthquake or the after effects in their house, car, roads,fires etc will be significant.

      • In case you find the idea of a nuclear plant surviving a 9+ hard to believe, consider this. Modern plants are constructed of modules. The modules are each subjected, deliberately, to forces well in excess of a 9 on their transport to the plant. The connections are tested similarly. So, if the plant is running, it can live through a 9.

      • de Lion,
        The earthquake did not cause the Fukushima reactor and spent nuclear rod meltdowns.
        The failure to account for a prolonged loss of diesel power backup to run the cooling water pumps was the innate design problem that was uncovered by a tsunami. That tsunami could have also come from Alaska/Aleutian Island earthquake.

      • De Lion!!!
        The Japanese design and installation has been torn apart by many.
        Good fracking grief! Like some hospitals in New Orleans than had their backup generators on the ground level. Just 6 or 7 feet up would have enuf for emergency power.
        As with Three Mile Island, the Japanese incident is being used for one purpose: scare the hell outta people that don’t know any better.
        Gums sends…

      • joelobryan and Gums, you are both correct. The design of the plant did not survive the 9.0 earthquake. All the parts and pieces can individually survive (as Dan points out), but when they were put together as a completed “system,” if failed.

      • Coeur de Lion – check again. They survived the earthquake. They didn’t survive the tsunami. Poor placement of generators.

      • kaliforniakook….I guess you are trying to tell us that the tsunami appeared all by itself, and was not in any way connected with the earthquake..
        LMAO, the plants did not survive the earthquake, and the reason I say that is that is because the tsunami is an after effect of the earthquake. Ever wonder why tsunami warnings/watches always follow an earthquake?

      • kaliforniakook, so when the wind gusts during a thunderstorm knock a tree over and it falls on a house, you are going to blame the “poor placement of the house” for the damage?

      • @Coeur de Lion :
        Why do the Anti Nukes have no problem dying from a NG explosion, dam break and then go hermitile over one injured person at a NPP? And what is the point? A few people killed in trying to shut down a NPP or several THOUSANDS killed by the Tsunami? How many were killed by the NG explosions? from that earthquake? How many people have died from NG in just the state of California since Nuclear Power became a viable alternative over Coal or NG?
        When a person fell from a scaffold at a nuclear power plant it was front page news across the USA and several Network news broadcasts. About a year later a coal power plant had an explosion killing several people and the “clipping” service only provided three articles on the event – all local/regional papers. Not one word on evening network news.
        from WIKI
        “In Japan, the National Police Agency has confirmed 15,895 deaths,[202] 6,156 injured,[203] and 2,539 people missing[204] across twenty prefectures.[47] In addition, some three thousands extra death have been identified as “earthquake-related death”,[205][206] bringing the total number of death caused by the disaster to 19,575 as of 2017 September.[207]
        Above tells me “NO Tsunami = No major problems at Fukushima.”

      • usurbrain, when you have an explosion at a NG or coal plant, you clean up the mess and if economically viable you fix the damage and go on. Industrial accidents happen all the time.
        Can’t do that at Fukishima.
        After an explosion at a NG or coal plant the people that live in the neighboring communities can return to their homes and get on with their lives.
        Can’t do that at Fukishima because of the exclusion zones:
        Oh, and guess who is paying for the cleanup?…..that’s right the Japanese taxpayers.

      • C. Paul Pierett
        An earthquake happened, somewhere, which caused a tsunami. Had the earthquake happened under the reactor, the tsunami would have moved away from the reactor, not towards it.
        So the initial earthquake centre was off the coast somewhere. The reactor survived the physical ground movement, which would be before a tsunami rolled in and swamped a badly placed backup facility.
        It was the tsunami that was the agent of doom, not the earthquake.
        Of all the hundreds of reactors round the world, there have been only a few disasters. Fewer people have died as a result of nuclear energy production than any other energy production.
        What’s your problem?

      • 1) ” Had the earthquake happened under the reactor, the tsunami would have moved away from the reactor, not towards it.” …. That is not true. It all depends on which way the faults slip. Even if the wave went outward, the recovery would have created an in bound tsunami .
        2) It was the earthquake which was the agent of doom, because the earthquake caused the tsunami.
        3) I have no problem HotScot, do you have one?

      • The exclusion zone around Fukushima is a political thing. It’s not necessary from a health perspective.

      • It was an old design that was scheduled to be de-commissioned shortly anyway.
        This is like judging the safety of cars by examining a Model T.

      • 1) “political thing”….. There is a lot of contamination around the Fukishima power plant. You are welcome to go in and join the workers cleaning up the mess.
        2) “It was an old design ” … The design of the reactor did not cause the problem, it was the design of the system that caused it. There are a lot of operating plants where there is a fatal design flaw in the systems that we will not know of until the right set of circumstances occur.

      • “This is like judging the safety of cars by examining a Model T.”

        No matter how “safe” a car is, a tire blowout at 70+ mph is still very dangerous. You cannot remove potholes through the design of the car.

      • There are workers cleaning up the area, and they aren’t being harmed.
        Are you arguing that nothing should be built until we can prove that it’s perfect? Or does your p@ranoi@ regarding nuclear power make it something unique.
        Even with a couple of minor accidents and one major one, nuclear power is by several orders of magnitude safer than any other form of energy.

      • You can’t remove the pot holes in life, but you can (and we do) design systems capable of handling those pot holes.

      • “There are workers cleaning up the area”

        Workers cannot get near the melted cores. If they can’t get near them, how do they clean them up? There are areas so “hot” with radiation, even robots can’t get near it.

  5. I can’t believe something like this could be implemented without legislation. Not that I don’t think it wouldn’t pass in California. Still, this is the poster child for bureaucratic overreach.

  6. Here is a list of research methodology questions in critique of the CO2 savings estimate.
    1. As noted above, the equipment replacement cost needs to be factored in.
    2. If more people are priced out of the CA single family homes market and those who do buy have more carbon intensive lifestyles, it lowers the savings estimate. The same applies if builders add more carbon intensive features to the home for a more affluent buyer.
    3. If solar tax credit claims rise by a factor of 2x, then government revenue and taxable GDP to fund government must rise to pay for what is billed here as “free” money for project cost offsets. That extra GDP implies higher CO2 emissions.
    4. Since 91 percent of solar panel sales in the U.S. are imports, then the trade deficit is forced higher by policy mandate. Even if new US capacity lowers the import share to 85 percent, it’s still high.
    5. If the rooftop policy bias causes more efficient utility-scale solar additions to be limited in Calif., then the effect is rewarding inefficiency and reduction in the rate of CO2 savings relative to the current mix of solar project capacity additions.
    6. The carbon emissions from re-energizing the rooftop solar industry will be higher relative to the install teams at large scale utility PV sites.
    7. More expenditures from grid operations would be expected in managing a more chaotic grid compared to the management needs of working with a few large solar project feed in points using management software etc.
    8. Collectively, higher emissions would be expected from households and businesses working harder to pay for increased housing and grid costs. The greater the cost and revenue need, the high the emissions result in getting there.
    9. A more unstable grid may generate higher emissions than would otherwise occur in the back up power provisions. see Ivanpah as a smaller scale example using NG in place of flawed solar CSP promises.
    10. Longer commute times and higher emissions may result from balancing the equation of higher construction cost vs land and impact fee cost in Calif commuting zones.

    • Point 6 is an indication the California Energy Commission doesn’t understand economy of scale. Even if they believe solar is a viable power source for the grid, how can they not understand that scattered small solar installations will require far greater manufacture of mounting components and many more delivery-truck miles than the same amount of panels installed in a central location?
      Even if they think the make-work is good for the economy, the greater total CO2 emission goes against their proclaimed intent to lower CO2 emissions.
      If the intent was to reduce consumption of fossil fuels in power plants only, even that goal might be more easily reached by promoting use of transpired solar collectors and Trombe walls. Both are an economical (and safer) way to reduce power consumed by HVAC systems in office buildings, warehouses, large box stores, etc. in sunny California.
      Note that I said “promoting”, not “mandating”.

    • Maybe I missed it but how many new homeless persons will be on the streets of LA because they can no longer afford the price of housing? Do the new street tents have to also have solar panels installed?

  7. This is a FANTASTIC initiative by California, a state with an economy larger now than the UK’s that is leading the way for other US states on environmental initiatives.
    Once the tub of lard blabbermouth Trump is kicked out of office then the US states can ramp up their determination to combat AGW. Like everything else, Trump has been a disaster for the environment with zero interest in anything connected to it – why should it concern a real estate salesman from New York? There are many state legislatures, however, who are very aware of what is going on and are putting in place programs that will be protecting their citizen’s welfare long after the Donald is dead and buried.

    • Selling online ads and marketing privacy is big biz in California, just ask the Russians. Beyond that the contribution of tech sector profits to their state GDP is cyclical. The Trump tax cuts just boosted them immensely by returning billions in cash from overseas earnings that had been piling up in foreign banks.

    • Ivan, has someone solved the intermittency problem? or developed practical storage?

    • I don’t like Trump and didn’t vote for him. I will in 2020 though. California constantly makes stupid, environmentally harmful decisions all the time. Witness the diesel catalyst debacle, closing Diablo Canyon which will raise CO2, digging up all the fuel tanks in the state and, don’t forget, MTBE, the mother of all stupidity. They do what makes them feel good, not what is rational, like most leftists.

      • Grant May 11, 2018 at 10:19 am
        I don’t like Trump and didn’t vote for him. I will in 2020 though.California constantly makes stupid, environmentally harmful decisions all the time. Witness the diesel catalyst debacle, closing Diablo Canyon which will raise CO2, digging up all the fuel tanks in the state and, don’t forget, MTBE, the mother of all stupidity. They do what makes them feel good, not what is rational, like most leftists.

        ivankinsman May 11, 2018 at 11:37 am
        Note I put in my comment that they have just overtaken the UK in size of economy. They are visionaries.

        Often the “greens”, such as Ivan, claim all the (imagined) damage to Ma’ Gaia by Big Oil etc. is due to greed yet he tries to use money to defend the actual damage done to the environment by CA “green” policies.

    • Ivan forgot the /sarc tag, guys. That wasn’t a serious rant. We already know from geologic history that the earth has been warming – and thrived. CO2 is necessary for life. Only dunces and few people on the public dole (AGW grants) are unaware of these facts.

      • Initiatives like this show how the climate sceptics are gradually being driven to the brink of extinction. Get on the program or you’re done my friend. Confined to the realms of oblivion.

      • ivan, if you want to know what happens when a state puts too high of a percentage of their electric grid as renewables I suggest you take a look at what happened in South Australia last year. At the moment California is only able to keep its lights on in the summer thanks to its neighboring states proving a substantial amount of the electricity. If renewables are so great then why is it that every state of every nation across the globe that tries to adopt them ends up with the highest electricity rate in their country?
        Meanwhile, back in the backwaters of the south we have electricity provided in large part by nuclear plants and have some of the cheapest electricity in the US. Almost every state on the bottom of this list votes red and all of the top states vote blue.
        Why do you hate poor people so much that you want to force them into energy poverty and make them freeze to death come winter?
        Go virtue signal somewhere else, no one here is buying your nonsense troll!

      • Wow, unelected politicians doing something that is wildly unpopular proves that skeptics are going extinct?
        You never bothered studying logic in school.

    • Ivan, while the UK and California GDP are close, the UK is still ahead. Interestingly they are also a head when it comes to really dumb AGW initiatives which ultimately kill GDP. California probably will surpass the UK in GDP thanks primarily, if not solely to Trump’s economic policies. California is one of those states, like New York, where the politicians have their proverbial hands around the throat of their golden goose. With the average house prices, extreme homelessness problems, failure to address the illegal alien problems, high taxes, one of two things will happen, as it has in NY state, the population will move elsewhere or the economy will crater and then the population will move elsewhere. Appreciate they will expect the rest of us to bail them out after the coming Great Earthquake.

      • Edwin how can you spout such BS. The rest of the US is envious of California because it is both LIBERAL and EXTREMELY SUCCESSFUL. It is also much more forward looking than many other states and its residents about as far from the Trump base as you can get. This is a very bold initiative and the sceptics should quit their mealy-mouthed whinging and start singing CA’s praises.

      • Ivanski once again puts fantasy ahead of reality. Note to troll, they aren’t laughing with you, or CA.

    • ivankinsman
      Don’t tell me, let me guess, you’ve been reading the Guardian again.
      Evil Trump (who has got N. Korea to the negotiating table) Evil Trump (who has forced the EPA to be scientifically transparent) Evil Trump (who has stopped America haemorrhaging money to countries who have no interest in reducing CO2) Evil Trump (who has told Iran to go and get stuffed) Evil Trump (who is concentrating on America’s interests because, well, its his job).
      Meanwhile, the United Socialist State of California is implementing madder and madder schemes to combat an entirely beneficial trace gas.
      Who is evil here?

      • HotScot you must have eaten a lot of haggis recently to spout such flatulence. Trump is concentrating on getting his orange face on TV as much as possible so he can soak up the adulation from acolytes such as yourself. He is not only incompetent but is dragging the rest of America down to his cretinous level. His big fat arse will soon get a good kicking in the mid-terms and the currently sycophantic GOP will possibly come to their senses and keep him on a leash until 2020, if he is not impeached first. His lap dog Pruitt will hopefully serve his time in a federal state prison being rogered daily for gross misuse of public taxpayers funds.

        • ivankinsman
          Very personal.
          I daresay President Trump wouldn’t stoop to your level and call you a specky, fat, ignorant geek.
          Therefore he occupies the moral high ground over you.
          In which case he’s a far superior human being to you as, additionally:
          1. He’s well ahead of you in achieving the status of POTUS.
          2. He has the considered advice of almost any expert, on any subject, and you have? the Guardian.
          3. So far, the only fat, specky, ignorant geek he’s insulted is Kim, and that has proven positive.
          4. He reads comics (according to some MSM), yet is far better informed about world events than you are, reading the Guardian.
          When you launch personal insults about someone, please have the grace to examined yourself first.

      • Agree w/HotScot — ivan-whatever is really over the top here showing his patootie. Griff was unpleasant, but not a raving nutcase.

      • MarkW
        HeHeHe’s a fascist!
        Seriously, ivan’s too funny, even funnier than Griff.
        And I would suggest they are one and the same, but Griff at least made an attempt at reasonable discourse, occasionally.
        Ivan couldn’t spell discourse never mind conduct it.

    • Does CA have a vision for paying out the retirement obligations in CALPERS and CALTRS? Both are less than 70% funded. That means MASSIVE bounds to make them meet federal requirements and YOU get to help pay off those bonds.

  8. At a recent NARUC Conference, I asked about the technology risk for wind and solar: There is the risk of failure for the product, system, and technology after installation; and then, there is the technology risk whereby the advancement of new technology is so far superior that the old system is obsolete.

    • Sounds like Germany’s solar install base today since they were the early adopters.

    • If it’s obsolete but still producing affordable power, who cares?
      The problem is that wind and solar don’t produce affordable power – unless you live beyond the reach of power lines, like me.

      • kaliforniakook
        Because, as I understand it, intermittent power supplies disrupt stable, conventional power production and cause surges. Roughly speaking.

  9. Does it mandate how much solar panel are is necessary? Based on home SQ FT? Roof SQ FT?
    I could see running a 12″x12″ panel… and charge my car/MC battery with that.

  10. Will this lead to increases in insurance costs due to a higher fire hazard? And, if someone dies in a fire caused by solar panels is the state now liable for forcing their adoption?

    • I would guess that it is certain to raise insurance cost. Repairing panels damaged by wind and hail (not to mention rock-throwing miscreants, woodpeckers, and rodents) is more expensive than just the roof. Repairing the roof is more expensive if you must work around, or temporarily dismantle, the equipment. More people on your roof means more liability, and there is increased danger to firemen and all others who may be required to work in an environment where there could be energized circuits that can’t be remotely cut off. If the sun is shining, and the panels are uncovered, electricity is being generated, regardless of what you do wrt the electronics.

  11. Solar doesn’t make economic sense, it doesn’t make engineering sense and it doesn’t make climate policy sense.
    All it’s good for (now at least) is for those who build and sell it and those who live through virtue signalling. This whole debacle will not age well and I’ll bet the select few getting rich could care less.
    Signed: Cynicus BurrSadllius

    • Thank you, Sheri.
      You nailed it.
      I think members of that California Energy voting for this must be some Jim Jones followers that came back to California ’cause the mosquitos were bad in Guyana or the Kool Aid didn’t taste right.
      Gums opines…
      P.S. I still suggest the “Rainbow Six” solution, or t least a try on “Naked and Araid”.
      Gums sends..

  12. “Rooftop solar panels are a “much more expensive way of increasing renewables on the grid,” costing between 12.9 and 16.7 cents per kilowatt-hour, more than twice the cost of utility-scale solar systems, according to the report.”
    I think this is a key point. If California really wants to go solar, utility-scale solar systems would be far more cost effective. But if they built utility scale systems plus the necessary storage, the rather substantial costs would end up on utility bills where people could see them and everyone would have to pay. Whereas this way, they can save the planet and have someone else pick up the tab.

  13. I understand that in the USA renewable subsidies are financed by general taxation and do not appear on consumer bills. Here in the U.K. consumers take the rap and this is causing concern as the energy suppliers are being used as stealth tax collectors with the added insult that 8% vat is added to the tax for good/bad measure.
    If the U.K. system was in place in California I doubt this bit of legislation would have been put in place.

    • Not true.
      Renewable subsidies fees and charges are on my Arizona home’s monthly electric bill. And I have no renewable system. I am subsidizing other people virtue signaling directly on my utility bill.

    • It’s both for the different impact types. The income tax credits would not be there but other consumption factor subsidies would/could be.

      • MarkW
        You know I’m as dim as a dim thing with a dimmer switch.
        I miss obvious stuff. Doesn’t make me a bad person.

      • You know we love you, even if eating haggas makes you flatulent.
        You just get the chair by the window.

      • They don’t want the right hand to know the left hand is in your wallet.

        MarkW May 11, 2018 at 6:34 pm
        You know we love you, even if eating haggas makes you flatulent.
        You just get the chair by the window.

        If that’s true, I want the seat by the window!

  14. Nobody gets it??????
    The whole thing is a money hose aimed straight at Elon Musk and his Solar City company.
    Of course, Tesla will benefit by extension.
    As we all know, Musk is some sort of “Golden Boy”, revered in CA.
    A big government bailout of his failing enterprises was only to be expected.

  15. It’s a minefield of pseudo political fake science. The naughty boys will have a field day and there will be many a sad tale to tell.

  16. I love this idea, truly. But with one caveat. That these homes be manufactured on-site with sun-powered electric construction equipment! hahaha

  17. There are positive points to this mandate. You have to ignore the stated reasons for the mandate, but all of it is not bad:
    1. It establishes a distributed power system so that it will be easier for families to easier live through long interruptions to the main power grid. These interruptions are being made more likely through stupid energy policy, but they are already likely due to major earthquakes.
    a) Yes, power is likely to be only available in the day, I doubt everyone will have batteries or the costs would be even higher, but at some power is available some of the time in a power outage.
    b) Yes, only a few electrical components will be able to be powered from a typical small installation
    2. A lot of California is actually near enough the equator and sunny enough that solar power works well (as compared to solar power in many northern states, not compared to a typical gas generation power plant).
    3. If you insist on building solar power generation, building it on site is the best way.
    4. If you insist on using so-called green energy, solar is probably the best choice for this area.
    Remember, as California continues to develop into a socialist state, most lower economically class people (and illegal aliens) will receive more subsidies for housing. Much of the money for these higher subsides will be Federal dollars coming from donor states. The only people likely ruined by such mandates are the middle class, and who cares about them? (Err, oh… wait.)

    • It is likely these solar panels will be grid synchronized. Islanding protections will shut down the inverter in case of loss of grid power. Providing household power during a grid shutdown is an entirely different proposition, requiring battery, inverter and Automatic Transfer Switch to isolate the house from the grid. It is indeed a good idea but quite different, I think, than what is being mandated.

    • a) Yes, power is likely to be only available in the day, I doubt everyone will have batteries or the costs would be even higher, but at some power is available some of the time in a power outage.

      No problem!
      Just mandate everybody that buys a new house has to buy a couple of Teslas.
      Plug them into the house at night and let their super batteries keep the house powered!
      Everybody that matters (but the homeowner) wins!!

    • It’s all bad since it is mandated by the government and not a personal choice. I, being retired, would rather use the $$ to take a short vacation in the event of a temporary power outage. Others, even (or especially) on this site, have solar cells for various reasons. It suits their needs, so good for them. In my younger day, I would have had them as part of my doomsday kit (I did keep a solar/hand-cranked AM/FM/SW radio). I really wasn’t a prepper, but growing up during the height of the cold war left me a little edgy.

  18. More BS from the CEC. Never caught them yet being honest.
    I know reading the code is cheating. You do not need PV on your roof, you need a calculation showing how little energy you use.
    In 1987 I built a low energy house in Cali. I had the architect label my south facing windows as passive solar collectors. I then provided 37 pages of alternate calculation that no one at the building department could understand. Wink, wink, nod, nod, plans approved.
    What you basically have do is show all your electricity use comes from PV. Heating, cooling, cooking, and refrigeration can be done with natural gas. This leaves very little need for electricity. We live in a motor home and reduce our use demand to about 800 watt-hours/day.
    A developer can also have a shared PV systems to meet the requirements.
    There is also no provisions that the system has to work. There is a simple reasons for this. Record keeping cost more than the value of the power produced. I see a market for patio covers with 4 KWe of capacity. After you move into your new house, you sell the patio cover for a house under construction.
    I have not verified the facts but the other set grandparent live in Cali. They bought a house with PV. They did not check the contract. They got a bill for $800 because according to their net metering, they did not produce enough electricity. It could have something to with the Pacific Ocean reducing the amount of sunlight.
    We were visiting our granddaughter in Nevada which also has net metering. I answered the door and it was a solar PV sc@m artist doing a ‘survey’. If he had started with ‘I would like to discuss the economics of putting panels on your roof’ I would think he might be a honest salesman. About 30 seconds into the con job I looked at the logo on his shirt. Get lost! Turns out they come around often.
    I am still waiting for the first example of solar PV working close to what is claimed.

    • There’s a few large residential solar installations in Scottsdale, AZ. One produces 160 kilowatts during the day, enough to operate the entire house and charge two Tesla automobiles. The array cost about $120 kilobucks.

  19. I’d like to know if Tom Steyer, Gore, Soros, et al have stock or other financial stakes in the solar panel companies that are going to make the panels and whose stocks/profits are going to go up?

  20. Typical cost/benefit analysis for most greenie theory.
    And I’d be willing to bet these are generous numbers.

  21. I want the state of California to pay for the solar panels. Instead of wasting money on a high speed rail system between Bakersfield and Fresno which no one will ride, they should waste money on solar panels. I want a solar energy system that will allow me to live completely off the grid and I want the state to pay for it including an all electric car. I will do my part by allowing them to put the solar panels on my property but I must own everything they install on my property.
    The reality is that the climate change we have been experiencing is caused by the sun and the oceans over which mankind has no control. There is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate and plenty of scientific rational to support the idea that the climate sensitivity of CO2 is zero. What the state of California wants to do will have no effect on climate.
    The vast majority of the so called greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over California is H2O and not CO2.
    The majority of the H2O in the atmosphere of California comes from the ocean. What the state wants to do will have no effect on the radiant greenhouse effect over California..

  22. My worry would be that if this is not considered a “takings” by the courts, what else can they mandate? How about batteries for grid backup? How about wind turbines to supplement the grid? How about Powerwalls, needed or not? None of these are “takings” per se since they don’t require you to surrender anything to the state.

  23. The reason why they like this solution is because it doesn’t cost them a dime.
    They force other people to spend money on things the politician feels is important.
    You get all the virtue signaling with none of the cost.

  24. Note to the author, you made a math mistake. You are comparing 3 years of CO2 savings 1.4 million tons, to 1 year several years ago 440 million tons.
    Assuming CO2 emissions don’t go up between 2015 and 2023 (3 years after the mandate goes into effect, the actual savings would only be 1/3rd of the 0.32% that you calculate.

  25. Since this is senseless, it just means we have not successfully followed the money.
    Why does this remind me of Mao’s Great Leap Forward with iron smelting in every village.
    Stupid in so many ways.
    Who will own the panels?
    Who will own the energy the panels produce?
    Who will pay for the energy they produce?
    Who will have to pay for the energy produced that nobody wants?
    Who will want the energy they produce?
    Who will now have the job of deciding if a house should have panels. This requires a study of each house built. Did they include those costs in their estimate?
    Will they mandate the houses have to “face” south to maximize solar impact?
    How many panels should each house have. The maximum number possible or enough to supply energy to the house? If a mogul builds a mansion, will he have to cover the roof of his huge house with panels?
    Will you not be allowed to have a tree to shade your house? Shade trees really save cooling costs.
    If your system needs to be repaired, who will pay. If you don’t repair it, do you get fined?
    Will insurance companies be required to pay to fix broken or damaged system?
    When you redo your roof in 20 years, who will have to pay to take the panels down, store them, and then re-install them? (This is “piling on.” In 20 years the state will be bankrupt and nobody is going to care about roof solar panels.)
    What if you don’t install the panels. What is the penalty?
    California is leading the nation. No question about it.

    • Geez. Why not make everybody install their own NG generator and pump electricity back into the grid 24/7 if they have natural gas coming to their neighborhood? Because it would be insane. But I guess solar is different.

  26. None of this makes sense exactly because it’s not supposed to make sense — by design.
    “Progressives” want to destroy the current order — including reason, law, infrastructure, relationships … — and they know the fast-track to that end is the nonsensical exercise of arbitrary power.

  27. A simple back of the envelope future value calculation using the $10K initial value the $50 a month in increased mortgage payments, at least $50 a month for additional Taxes (annual payment divided by 12) and another $50 a month in increased insurance (annual payment divided by 12) shows that you have LOST about $75,000. Now add in what you think it will cost to clean and repair this albatross for 30 years,

  28. Demand that everyone on the CA Energy Commision install solar panels on their homes, even if they are not new construction, then also require all Dem. legislators due the same……..without state funded bailouts.

    • The excess power could be used to power electric diggers to dig holes, and when deep enough, refill them. Rinse and repeat.

  29. It would seem the California Energy Commission thinks it’s the California EPA.
    (I wonder if they will be required to have that label, “This solar panel contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, or birth defects or other reproductive harm”? 😎

  30. Did the California Energy Commission accept any input from firefighters?
    If I’m not mistaken, among the first steps to putting out a house fire is cut the power to the house.
    Unless the fire is at night, these will still provide enough power to the homes wiring to shock or even electrocute a firefighter. And, maybe, cause fires in other parts of the house as water causes shorts.
    They sometimes need to break through the roof while trying to put out a fire. What happens when they have to break through a solar panel?

  31. There is plenty of scientific rational to support the idea that the climate sensitivity of CO2 is zero. So any change in CO2 emissions will have no effect on climate. However roof top solar panels will cause the roof to absorb more radiant energy which causes warming. If global warming is of concern then instead of installing solar panels of roofs they should be painting the roof tops white.

  32. Here is an idea for Kalifornica- Outlaw all fossil fuels. Require electric vehicles, no internal combustion engines allowed. Only solar/wind/hydro power plants. Any sane person that currently lives in Kalifornica (are there any?) will immediately move to another state. The nut-jobs that are left will have their green paradise that will very shortly resemble the stone age (without fire of course, as fire is a source of carbon emission…) and nature will take care of the rest. Think of all the positives- No more crappy propaganda movies/tv coming out of CA. No more whining celebrities trying to preach and enforce their world view on everybody else. The bottom would fall out of the incredibly expensive housing market, and ANYBODY would be able to afford to live there. (Not that anybody would/should want to live there at that point or this for that matter…) Sounds like something Gov Moonbeam would sign off on without hesitation if he were truly devoted to the cause of saving the planet, as well as all those eco-celebs. Elon Musk would make a fortune, and become the patron saint of the state. Although it may be difficult to charge all those explosive Tesla batteries with nothing but renewable power, it won’t really matter much once everybody that is left living there would starve or die from dysentery because there isn’t enough electricity to operate water treatment plants or agriculture operations. If I were asked to vote on it, I would vote a wholehearted YES for that plan. But then again, I live in the forest in the north woods of MN, insulated from all the insanity of idiots like the ones that come up with these schemes, so I would never be asked to vote on such a measure….

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