Two approaches to reducing the upfront cost of solar on new homes

Each year, more Oregon builders are making solar a reality on their new homes. To set builders up for success, Energy Trust puts builders in touch with trusted Solar trade ally contractors. Builders gain access to incentives through Solar trade allies and can leverage solar contractors’ proven expertise to make solar a great value add for homebuyers.

Here are two approaches that have helped builders reduce the cost of their solar systems.

Optimize plan sets with solar modeling

Solar contractors use solar modeling to confirm that home roofs have adequate space for solar, free from obstructions like vents, chimneys and skylights, as well as locate any neighboring obstructions, such as trees, hills and more. Solar modeling can help you and your solar contractor understand how much solar energy generation is possible on each roof face. Solar contractors provide solar modeling as part of the bid process, allowing the builder and solar contractor to establish designated solar roof area before construction begins.

Example project: In 2020, the builder held a solar early design assistance (EDA) meeting with its solar contractor to walk through preliminary models and solar mockups for a development. The EDA enabled the HVAC contractor and verifier to review the models and weigh in on alternate venting solutions that were more compatible with the solar installations.

Consider bulk procurement of solar

For builders who are planning developments with multiple homes, bulk procurement is another way to save money on solar systems. Solar contractors can offer reduced costs when the builder procures solar systems for multiple homes. While early coordination is necessary to get buy-in from future homeowners, the cost savings can be well worth it. This method also allows for streamlined installation and scheduling, as the solar contractor will use similar methods for each install and can complete all installations during one timeframe rather than on a house-by-house basis.

Example project: In 2021, the builder made solar more accessible for homebuyers through bulk procurement. They purchased five solar PV systems at the same time, which reduced the cost of the systems. Additionally, solar and net zero incentives reduced the upfront cost of installing solar and ensured that the solar contractor was able to maximize the efficiency of installation at the development.

Work with Energy Trust to identify a Solar trade ally that can support your project while earning cash incentives. Email us at to get started. Check out this article for information on how to meet Oregon’s solar interconnection pathway code requirements.