Taxpayers lose again with new solar panel mandate

The California Energy Commission has announced new regulations to require rooftop solar panels on all new homes constructed in California beginning in 2020. This forced mandate represents an extraordinary regulatory overreach.

However, don’t expect too much political push-back against these new rules. Why? Because the “winners” who support the regulations have a lot more political juice than the “losers.”

Tops on the list of winners is, of course, the solar industry. When your business is the manufacturing and installation of solar panels, and you can get government to mandate the purchase of your product, you have a guaranteed customer base as well as a guaranteed revenue stream.  For solar companies, spending a few million dollars on political influence results in a great (return on investment).

A less direct benefit behind the solar mandate is conferred on the building industry generally. Although the mandatory inclusion of solar panels will increase the cost of their “product,” i.e. homes, this is a cost developers will just pass along to consumers. Because it’s a government mandate, no developer will be put at a competitive disadvantage.

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