Possible Solar Mandate in California: Could Missouri Follow Suit?

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SPRINGFIELD — The initiative will be voted on Wednesday, but could that be a trend that could make its way here? 

The California Energy Commission will vote Wednesday on whether to require homes to have solar panels on every new house built after January 1st, 2020. 

The purpose is to reduce energy usage for millions of residents. 

While the solar craze really took off in California, Chelsey Bunch with Sun Solar in Springfield says it has caught on in a big way in our region as well. 

“Within the last couple of years, you have really seen that trend move into the Midwest, and I’d say within the last two or three years, solar has really started to take off in our area.” 

Bunch says they have begun to see numbers rise commercially, but residences are the where they have seen the most installations. She says many enjoy the stress-free nature of having them. 

“There are no moving parts with panels, so there is no ongoing maintenance.”

The savings outshine everything. 

“I think the main benefit is locking in your utility rates,” says James Bartley, the Owner of Skywire Solar. He says people love not having to worry about rate hikes. 

“Once you put solar on your house, it’s going to produce what it’s going to produce, you paid for it when you paid for it. So, you aren’t worried about the rate hikes over 25 years over the life of a system. If you could go back in time and buy gas at the pump 30 years ago wouldn’t you want to do that?” Bartley says. 

While the proposed law in California could make every new home required to install panels on the house, Bartley says if you have space, its best to put them on the ground so they can face the best direction — South.

“Typically on a roof you’ve kinda gotta hodgepodge it together to get enough solar on your roof for most people,” Bartley says. 

“On the ground, you can face it due South. That is definitely a benefit. In 20-25 years, depending on how long your roof lasts, you’ll have to pull those panels off, and then put them back on. So why not put them on the ground to start out with?” asks Bartley. 

Saving energy is a growing concern in today’s world, but Bartley says Missouri may never need to mandate solar energy like California. 

“We have cheap utilities out here and we don’t have near the rolling blackouts and near the power consumption issues that they do out there,” Bartley says.  

Bunch says one Missouri city is trending in a direction to make solar more prevalent. 

“The city of Columbia already has a mandate, any new development, a new home has to have a solar-ready roof that is facing the right direction and is ready to sustain panels on it. So we are moving in somewhat of that direction.”

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