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.