The Californian government has officially decreed a mandatory installation of solar panels for stand-alone houses or apartment buildings which are less than three stories high by 2020. As home-use solar panels have yet to become mainstream, a number of major hurdles will still need to be overcome.
For starters, the installations of the solar panels will raise California's housing prices, which are already dizzyingly high. The median prices of the stand-alone houses in California is expected to rise by as much as 2.5% to US$607,900 by the end of the next year, according to the California Association of Realtors (CAR). At the present stage, the penetration rate of solar panels on the state’s residential housing market is only at around 20%.
The installations of the solar panels in California would bring about US$8,000-10,000 worth of additional housing costs, according to Bob Raymer, the technological consultant of the American Institute of Architects, California Council (AIACC).
To deal with the rising housing costs, the housing developers will have no choice but to eventually roll out solar-panel lease services in areas that have lower housing prices; Ali Wolf, an economist at Meyers Research, believes that the solar-panel costs will eventually need to be included in the housing loans.
Another problem with the extensive installation of solar-panels that is worth mentioning is the possible influx of an excessive amount of PV power during noontime. To prevent the overloading of PV costs, the state government will have to take steps to cut the wholesale PV power rate during the period, according to Bloomberg.
Up to several thousands of U.S. dollars of outlay will be needed for the installation of a power storage system, should one intend to store the excess power output for use at nighttime or during a power outage. In the latter instance, the inverters of a PV power system would cut off the PV power current to protect the disaster relief workers and power-system repairmen.
The new policy from the Californian government will undoubtedly give the state's residential PV power industry a strong boost. According to Lynn Jurich, the CEO of Sunrun, her company has already started to sign contracts with several leading housing developers in California for the provision of rooftop solar panels.