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Net Zero Homes

For EPS New Construction

Energy Trust supports your commitment to quality construction. We offer cash incentives and technical support so you can build net zero homes that truly stand out, with solar already installed and a design that enables 100% of the home’s electricity usage to be powered by solar.

Along with the incentive, your verifier will arrange an early design assistance meeting to make the most of your site’s solar potential and to identify the energy-saving features that will enable the home to qualify as net zero. Qualified homes are built at least 20% more efficient than a typical newly built home and can earn additional incentives for meeting EPS requirements.

This is a great opportunity to lead the industry as a builder that empowers your buyers with high-performance homes that have the potential to produce as much electricity as they consume over the course of the year.

  1. Learn about available incentives. Before construction starts, contact Energy Trust at 1.877.283.0698 or email us to discuss your project and learn about available incentives.
  2. Establish eligibility. Contact a program-approved verifier to establish eligibility. Installation site must be in Oregon and grid-connected with electricity provided by Portland General Electric or Pacific Power. Net zero incentives are only available for homes that receive an EPS.
  3. Hire a solar trade ally contractor. An Energy Trust approved solar trade ally contactor will help inform your home design to maximize solar output and could install your home’s solar system.
  4. Plan with an early design assistance meeting. Your verifier will help you arrange an early design assistance meeting to plan energy efficiency elements and solar design of the home and will help ensure your home meets net zero and EPS requirements.
  5. Receive your incentives. Your verifier will inspect the home for compliance and you will receive your incentives at project completion.

Incentives for net zero homes

Incentive TypeIncentive AmountIncentive Description
EPS whole homes incentive$1,123 to $4,085 per homeBased on efficiency above a typical newly built home
Net zero$1,000 per homeFlat incentive for homes that meet net zero requirements
Early design assistance meeting$1,000 per development Incentive available to builders who hold an early design assistance meeting (EPS verifier and solar contractor must be present)
Solar installation incentiveIncentive variesUpfront/Instant incentive paid to the solar trade ally to decrease the upfront cost of the system

Homes must receive electric service from Portland General Electric or Pacific Power.

Energy Trust solar incentives are allocated in steps and gradually reduce over time to support the most projects with Energy Trust’s limited budget. The 2022 Solar Status Report has the most up-to-date details about current and upcoming incentive allocations. Income qualified buyers may be eligible for an increased incentive rate. Solar installation may also be eligible for an Oregon state rebate and a federal tax credit. Pair with our other energy smart home offerings, such as solar + storage ready and EV ready, to earn additional incentives for qualified homes.

Net zero requirements

  • Must receive electric service from Portland General Electric or Pacific Power
  • Must complete an early design assistance meeting with a verifier and solar trade ally in attendance
  • Must be an EPS™ home that performs at least 20% above a typical newly built home
  • Must include a solar system sized to offset at least 95% of annual estimated electric consumption of the home
  • Homes heated by gas must be at least 10% more efficient than a typical newly built home

New energy-efficient accessory dwelling units (ADUs) that earn an EPS and are permitted as an ADU by the local jurisdiction can also qualify for EPS net zero incentives.

See the Resources tab for a link to the net zero residential installation requirements for complete details.

Your comprehensive guide

Download the net zero residential installation requirements for full details.

Explaining net zero homes to customers

Use these helpful talking points when speaking to customers who may be interested in buying a net zero home:

  • Homes that qualify as net zero offer outstanding efficiency, comfort and energy cost savings, and come with a solar electric system already installed.
  • These homes earn an EPS for their high-quality construction and excellent energy performance. (EPS is a scoring system that measures the energy impact of a home and how much it costs to operate.)
  • Net zero homes are built to be at least 20% more energy efficient than a typical newly built home, with the potential to lower the home’s monthly energy bills. They also have the potential to achieve net zero or near-zero electricity use. This means the home can produce the same amount of electricity it uses over the course of a year, depending on the energy-saving commitment of those who live there.
  • Along with a solar electric system, common features found in these homes include tight construction, high levels of insulation, and efficient heating and cooling.
  • A net zero home provides the foundation for maximum efficiency, but it’s up to the resident to make the most of this potential and minimize energy use. A few examples of minimizing energy use include managing the thermostat, unplugging battery chargers when not in use, and cleaning and replacing filters regularly.