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California Becomes First State to Require Solar on New Homes
The California Building Standards Commission unanimously confirmed the standards during a vote on Wednesday, The Mercury News reported.
Commissioner Kent Sasaki described the new policy as "historic" and a model for the rest of the nation to follow.
"These provisions really are historic and will be a beacon of light for the rest of the country," he said, according to The Mercury News. "[It's] the beginning of substantial improvement in how we produce energy and reduce the consumption of fossil fuels."
The mandate—which was originally approved by the state's energy commission in May—applies to all houses, condos and apartment buildings up to three stories tall that obtain building permits after Jan. 1, 2020. An exception will apply for homes that are shaded by trees or buildings that have a roof too small to accommodate solar panels.
The new policy could add an estimated $10,000 to the building a single-family home. However, that cost is expected to be offset through reduced monthly energy costs over a solar system's lifespan, commissioners noted.
Drew Bohan, executive director of the energy commission, said during Wednesday's session that a homeowner will save $19,000 over the course of a 30-year mortgage by having solar panels, NPR reported.
"With extreme weather events becoming more frequent, there is even greater need for homes that are efficient, reliable and resilient," Bohan added.
California has 24.3 gigawatts of solar PV capacity and is the country's undisputed solar champion, with roughly five-times the capacity of second-ranked North Carolina. Approximately 6 million homes in the Golden State are supplied by solar energy.
The world's fifth largest economy has one of toughest clean energy mandates. In September, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law that requires 100 percent of the state's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2045, making it the second state after Hawaii to set such a mandate.
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The mounting climate emergency may spur the next global financial crisis and the world's central banks are woefully ill equipped to handle the consequences, according to a new book-length report by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), as S&P Global reported. Located in Basel, Switzerland, the BIS is an umbrella organization for the world's central banks.
Richard Hamilton Smith / Corbis NX / Getty Images
By Susan Cosier
Come February in Wisconsin, almost everything will be covered in ice and snow. In little shanties on frozen Lake Winnebago, a 30-by-13-mile lake in the eastern part of the state, fishers will keep watch over rectangular holes cut into the ice with a chainsaw. When they spot a fin passing below, they'll jab their spears down deep. The lucky ones will earn themselves a lake sturgeon, a species that has prowled the earth's waters for more than 150 million years.
Grecia Elenes grew up in Fresno, California. She says some parts of the city have been neglected for decades. When she moved back after college she realized nothing has changed.
Three U.S. firefighters gave their lives battling Australia's historic wildfires Thursday when their airborne water tanker crashed.