Texas environmental groups are calling on state or local officials to require that every new home built in the state by constructed with solar panels already installed on the roof, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Emma Pabst of the group Environment Texas a requirement for solar panel construction, similar to one approved in California earlier this year, would be the best and most efficient way to make solar energy affordable by increasing its reach.
"Installing solar during the construction phase deeply decreases the price of an installation, and insures optimal output fromt he panels themselves," she said. "Installing solar on all new homes would transform the market and lower costs."
Environment Texas says homebuilders would not think of building a home without a natural gas or electric powered HVAC system, and the same thought process should be given to solar panels.
Opponents to laws like this say it would increase the price of a home at a time when housing affordability is already a key problem facing urban areas, including San Antonio, but Pabst says we need to look at costs on a long-term basis.
"California's Energy Commission estimates that a solar building policy, coupled with energy efficiency improvements, will save homeowners $19,000 in energy costs over the life of a typical thirty year mortgage," she says.
Pabst says between 2020 and 2045, 3.2 million new homes will be built in Texas, and requiring all of them to have solar panels built in would increase solar capacity ten-fold, and cut the state's carbon emissions by 3.2% by 2045.