A proposal by Sacramento Municipal Utility District could undercut California’s mandate requiring solar panels on almost every new home.
The utility is asking state regulators to allow its customers to get power from solar farms instead of installing their own panels. Home builders have warned that the state’s solar mandate will drive up already high housing costs—adding almost $10,000 to the price.
Solar panel installers counter that allowing builders a way around the mandate would work against California’s clean energy goals. The rooftop solar mandate requires most new homes built starting in 2020 to include solar systems.
Sacramento’s utility serves 1.5 million customers and is the first utility in the state to propose the idea. If regulators approve the proposal, other utilities are expected to follow suit.