Gov. Brown calls for solar ready homes by 2020

Gov. Brown says new homes need to use solar power

If you buy a new home in Oregon in the next few years it might already be "solar ready."

Last week, Gov. Kate Brown signed an executive order saying in about three years, all new homes must be built wired and ready to install solar panels.

Currently, homes in Oregon are not necessarily designed to have solar panels put on top of them.

That means if a homeowner wants to add the panels, they often have to pay to retrofit their homes. That may mean, among other things, adding new wiring inside.

The governor's executive order would require all homes built after September 2020 to have that wiring set up. All the homeowner would have to do is purchase whatever solar panel system they choose.

The Oregon Environmental Council, which helped work on the executive order, says it will give homeowners an incentive to put in the cleaner energy solar panels.

"It gets your home set up and ready for solar panels so if you choose them in the future, half your work is already done," said Jana Gastellum, climate program director at Oregon Environmental Council.

Gastellum also said the homeowners would be able to recoup the added upfront costs with lower energy bills down the road.

She also said it will give homeowners an incentive to put in the cleaner energy alternative.

"If you make it easier to install solar panels it means more solar panels will be installed," she said.

But some Portland homebuilders disagree. Tim Roth, president of J.T. Roth Construction, said it could take more than a decade for those who go solar to recoup their costs. And those who don't put in the panels would still be required to pay anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a couple thousand dollars for something they don't use.

"They're telling the consumer that they have to consume this, they have to absorb this," Roth said. "Ive never been to excited about that."

Roth said while clean energy is a good thing, solar is not the answer.

"I'm not convinced the technology is there yet," he said.

But those who support the executive order say the technology is there and thanks to Gov. Brown, pretty soon "solar ready homes" will be too.

The governor's executive order also calls for all commercial buildings be built solar ready by October of 2022.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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