By Indri Schaelicke | United States
The California Energy Commission voted unanimously on Wednesday, May 9th to mandate that all new homes built must have solar power. Those responsible for creation of the policy are hoping that the move will help reduce carbon emissions by switching to a cleaner source of energy. However, they have overlooked several important issues with their solution.
To start, there is no need for increased electricity production in California. The Golden State already produces more solar power than they actually need. To deal with the excess, they have had to export their electricity to neighboring states, as well as prevent energy from solar farms from coming into California. This mandate will only add to the ongoing problem, as large amounts of electricity already flood the market.
Beside the excess amount of electricity California produces, the state is also facing low rates of home ownership. California currently has the third-worst state home ownership rate for millennials, and as the price of houses climbs higher as a result of this policy, that rate will surely continue to drop. Mandating that houses must have solar panels is estimated to raise the price of a new house by about $9,500. Elevated prices will only make it more difficult for first time home buyers to enter into the market, at a time when California is already in the middle of a homelessness crisis. California has the second-most-expensive homes in the nation after Hawaii, and it is dangerous to produce legislation that will raise these prices further.
Furthermore, the cost of living in California, which is exorbitantly high already, will only continue to rise. The figure below shows how California has the second highest cost of living for 2017, behind only Hawaii.
Many people will not be able to afford living in California, causing millions to go into debt or even become homeless. People facing financial difficulty are unable to spend and invest in economies as well as those that are more wealthy. Thus, if fewer people are able to spend large amounts of their income, the economy will not be able to grow well. This could threaten California’s years of strong economic growth.
It is also concerning to see that this policy was created and implemented by a group of unelected politicians – effectively an oligarchy. If the populace does not like the decision, there is little to no way that voters can remove the bureaucrats from office. The creation of this policy is a prime example of how the government seeks to gain control over every aspect of individuals’ lives, by any means necessary. The founding fathers never intended for unelected officials to be able to legislate and create policy that would impact our lives and ability to succeed. The idea of a representative democracy is that we the people are able to elect those we feel will make decisions that we support, and when they cease to do so, remove them from office. It is not possible for the populace to remove a bureaucrat from office.
Therefore, Californians must decry this policy and create a backlash severe enough to convince the Commission to reverse this decision. Otherwise, we can expect considerable hits to the California economy. Scarier still, the state will move towards a reality where bureaucrats commonly make these decisions without accountability.