California became the first state in the country to introduce legislation requiring rooftop solar to be installed on all new homes last year. A study from market research firm CITE Research finds the majority of Americans nationwide would support such legislation on a national level, Fast Company reports. The poll found that 70% of the 2,000 people polled would favor a national mandate similar to the California rooftop solar policy.
The survey respondents were equally divided among the regions of the U.S.—northeast, midwest, south, and west—and while the western states showed the most enthusiasm for rooftop solar (74%), support was fairly broad across the spectrum. Even in the south, where there are few incentives for homeowners to install rooftop solar but many hurdles for them to cross, 68% of respondents said they’d like to see a mandate in place.
California’s rooftop solar mandate is intended to lighten the environmental footprint of new homes (it also comes with a whole suite of building efficiency mandates, like thicker insulation and better sealing around windows and doors). Some experts in the clean energy space, though, have criticized the mandate, saying that focusing on larger solar and wind installations is a more cost-effective approach to increasing the supply of renewable energy. Individual rooftop installations, because they’re smaller, are on the whole more expensive to install.
Proponents say that mandating rooftop solar will cause the cost of installations to drop even further and also potentially encourage more innovation in distributed solar and home energy storage. In preparation for an influx of solar from rooftop installations, grid utilities might also be forced to make much-needed upgrades to energy distribution infrastructure.Read More