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California wildfire victims could get solar exemption

Posted at 1:20 PM, Aug 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-22 22:18:39-04

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California homeowners forced to rebuild because of a wildfire or other natural disaster would not have to install solar panels under a bill that has cleared the state Legislature.

California is the first state in the country to require new homes to install solar panels. The new rules take effect Jan. 1.

A bill by Republican state Sen. Brian Dahle would exempt homes that were damaged by a disaster. It would only apply to areas where the governor has declared a state of emergency.

Dahle said the bill is needed to help victims afford to rebuild their homes. The California Energy Commission says solar panels add about $9,500 to the cost of a new home.

But Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener opposed the bill, arguing the exemption is too broad.