Why Are California Home Builders and Rooftop Installers at Odds Over Solar?

November 13, 2019
Solar Power Installation
Image by Maria Godfrida from Pixabay

A state mandate for rooftop solar panels on new homes in California seemed like a windfall for solar rooftop installers. But a new proposal by the Sacramento Municipal District would allow homeowners to choose between rooftop panels and sourcing energy from solar farms, shifting power back to builders.

A proposal by a single utility threatens to upend California’s sweeping mandate requiring solar panels on almost every new home.

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District is asking state regulators to allow its customers to get power from solar farms instead of installing their own panels, saying they should have a choice. Rooftop solar installers are meanwhile warning that this would undercut California’s clean-energy goals.

Allowing homeowners to choose would be a win for builders and a blow to Sunrun Inc., Vivint Solar Inc., SunPower Corp. and other rooftop installers that saw the mandate passed last year as a windfall. It could also have broad implications for other states considering following California's lead and enacting solar requirements of their own.

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